Dorothy Ruth (Rhodes) Brightbill beloved mother, grandmother, and great grandmother passed away at the age of 91 on November 13, 2020. Dorothy’s life was the epitome of the Biblical Proverbs 31 woman. “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she laughs without fear of the future, watching over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Dorothy was born 04/22/1929 to Carl and Florence Rhodes. She was born into an agricultural family and remained in the agricultural industry all of her life. She told many stories of growing up on the farm, helping with everything from planting to harvest, along with her brothers Virgil and Irvin, and sister Florence, SE of Cotton Center Texas. She often recounted the vast farming history that she experienced in her lifetime beginning with her family’s small farm using a plow and horses and manual labor to produce the crops when she grew up, to today’s highly technological auto-guided tractor and other precision equipment replacing the manual labor of yesteryear. Though she made fun of her farming sons/grandson that said how hard a day they had with their air-conditioned, auto-guided equipment, she was so proud of them and their ability to use the new technology. The woman who could not even retrieve voicemail or text on her phone, could sell a farmer on the idea that he needed an autopilot, and they needed to talk to her smart sons about it. As a young girl, Dorothy always preferred to be outdoors and helping on the farm, but she was often found sneaking off on her horse and going for rides even before she was tall enough to get in the saddle by herself. She possessed a gentle gift that horses understood and trusted. One story she loved to tell is that her family possessed a particularly ornery horse, but she could just whistle and it would come running to her, something the rest of her family could not get it to do. She would ride that horse to school leaving her brother to walk to school on foot. One can imagine the little girl with long blond curls, bouncing along on her horse, probably sticking her tongue out at her brother, as she waved goodbye to him. She never lost that sassy personality. Horses were her passion, and she was a Charter member of the Abernathy Riding Club, a club that lasted for 50 years. She and her family participated in countless parades and rodeos. She graduated high school at 16 years old in 1945 and immediately went on to attend Bethany Nazarene College in Bethany, OK majoring in Home Economics.
Dorothy married the only man she ever loved, Bruce Brightbill, on September 14, 1947 in Abernathy. They were married for 63 years before he passed away in 2010. “She worked with eager hands and went about her work vigorously.” She not only became Bruce’s wife, but his partner on the farm. She remained actively engaged in farming until the day she died. It was nothing to see Bruce working all night on the tractor, and Dorothy driving it during the day. She was his helpmate and worked beside him, no matter the weather, and no matter the storms that life sent them. They were committed to each other and determined to travel their life’s journey together and overcome any obstacle that dared test their dreams. She was so proud of her family, and she most especially loved her 4 sons to whom she successfully instilled her own qualities of tenacity to never give up, work hard, and give of yourself to others. She also loved her 16 grandchildren, and 20 great grandchildren, whether they were born into her family or married in. She saw no difference and loved them as no other could. She knew each of their birthdays, their accomplishments, and was there to support each and every one of them as often as she could. She was their biggest cheerleader and loved to tell everyone how great her family was.
Dorothy was the model of hospitality. There were always extra people in her life and at her table. She loved on everyone with her baked goods, weekly homemade Sunday lunches, and always a listening ear. She was the heart of the family, faithfully checking on them, speaking with wisdom, and love. She welcomed everyone into her home and her life. She modeled the love of her Heavenly Father by reaching out to everyone. She never met a stranger. Once she met you, you became part of her life forever. She allowed God to show her a need and then gave her the desire and guidance to fulfill that need. She was generous to a fault. There are so many stories known and unknown of the acts of service that she selflessly gave to so many. There is no doubt that she was met by God who said, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Not only did Dorothy raise a successful family, baked from scratch, sewed, quilted, and worked on the farm, she was a successful entrepreneur in her own right. She achieved this before it was socially acceptable for women to do so. She began her career selling Stanley Products and eventually owned her own business, American Therapy, and operated it for 20 years in Lubbock TX. She traveled to numerous states and countries while involved in her businesses.
She and Bruce were members of the First United Methodist Church in Abernathy and Cotton Center and was attending the First Baptist Church in Cotton Center.
She was preceded in death by her father and mother, 2 brothers and 1 sister, a grandson, Chris Brightbill and daughter-in-law, Debbe Brightbill.
She is survived by 4 sons, Jerry Brightbill and wife Linda of Plainview, TX, Darryl Brightbill and wife Pat of Abernathy, TX, David Brightbill and wife Joyce of Monrovia, MD, and Randy Brightbill and wife Janey of Lubbock, TX, 16 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews and cousins and countless friends that she made her family. Though she possessed both charm and beauty, she was a woman who feared the Lord and is to be praised! Her value is more priceless than rubies!
A Celebration of Life will be planned for Summer 2021. But at this time, we are only doing a graveside service with a Zoom link for others to participate remotely.
The family suggests memorials be sent to the Debbe Brightbill Art Memorial Fund at Wayland Baptist University, Plainview, TX. Online: https://give.wbu.edu/ Choose Endowed Scholarship and type “Debbe Brightbill Art Memorial Fund.” Or mail to Wayland Baptist University, Debbe Brightbill Endowed Scholarship, 1900 W. 7th CMB 1295, Plainview TX 79072