Slain Moore deputy remembered as outgoing, devoted
Posted December 12, 2011
Pinehurst, N.C. — Rick Rhyne was more of a friend than a local law enforcement officer to many of those who remembered him Monday at his funeral.
Authorities say that Rhyne, a Moore County deputy, was shot and killed Thursday in a vacant house at 752 Morrison Bridge Road in Vass when he tried to arrest Martin Abel Poynter, 33, on an outstanding warrant for child support. Poynter then killed himself.
Rhyne, 58, was the first Moore County deputy to be killed in the line of duty.
About 700 people, including scores of law enforcement officers in uniform, packed Owens Auditorium on the campus of Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst on Monday afternoon to remember and honor his life of service.
Rhyne had worked in law enforcement in the county since he was 21, and acquaintances said he loved it too much to retire even when he could.
"He knew every resident in Foxfire by their first name," said Karen Ramey, a resident of Foxfire Village, the Moore County community where Rhyne spent 26 years, eventually serving as police chief. "If you needed something, he was there in a heartbeat."
Foxfire Village resident Karl Bernet said he and Rhyne were friends for 25 years, and it started when he first moved to town.
"Lo and behold, this man showed up at my door, and he was the chief of police and said welcome. So, that's how I met him," Bernet said.
"He was a compassionate man, a man who looked upon other people as someone to help rather than to abuse or use his influence on," he said. "It's a loss, period, not just for law enforcement. I loved him like a brother."
Don Strait said he likewise grew to be Rhyne's friend after an informal encounter. He said he was trying to climb onto his roof several years ago when Rhyne was driving by on patrol, saw him in a precarious position and stopped to help.
"I don't think there's ever been a loss that has affected me more," said Straight, a World War II pilot who mentored Rhyne's son, who also is a fighter pilot.
Rhyne began his law enforcement career in Pinehurst in 1974. After his time in Foxfire Village, he started working with the Moore County Sheriff's Office in 2007.
Others told stories of Rhyne helping people home from the hospital, fixing television antennae and giving people rides.
"He spoke to you every time you'd see him. He was real polite (and) talked to everybody," Aberdeen resident Sheryl Martin said. "Everybody in Moore County knew him, (and people) outside Moore County knew him. He was one of the good ones, one of the good ones."
A video was shown during the funeral service of a bright yellow motorcycle slowly cruising down a winding, wood-lined rural road. When Rhyne wasn't in a patrol car, friends say, he was on his motorcycle with his wife of 40 years, Wanda, and they and another couple would ride to wineries and the mountains.
Following the service, Rhyne's casket was drawn by horses in a procession to Abderdeen, where he was buried.
Two of the horses also pulled a caisson bearing President Ronald Reagan's casket during his funeral procession in 2004. Fire ladder trucks raised an American flag for the procession to pass underneath.
In addition to his wife, Rhyne is survived by a son, Air Force Lt. Col. Allen Rhyne, and two grandchildren.