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Slain Moore deputy remembered as outgoing, devoted

Posted December 12, 2011

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— 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."

Deputy Rick Rhyne's funeral Stories of friendship, kindness mark deputy's funeral

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.


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  • didyouhearme Dec 13, 2011

    It always moves me to see the men in uniforms and on mounted horses. I'm so sorry. He was a good person. How awful. His son is in the Air Force. Just awful. NO. We waste lots of things, but any money spent on this man is not a waste. What a nasty thing to say. Law enforcement officers have a terrible job I think. I would be so ...well... I'm a coward I guess. Cause I couldn't do what they do. Not one hour of it.
    I pray that God sheds His grace on the wife, son and grand babies. Just awful.

  • Ambygirl Dec 13, 2011

    As someone else stated in another story, not "alwaysloving" and definitely notalwaysintelligent........

  • jmanarc Dec 13, 2011

    This law enforcemnt officer gave his life to protect and serve the citizens of his community as well as his son serves in our military. IT IS NOT A WASTE OF TAXPAYER'S MONEY TO RPOVIDE HIM A PROPER FUNERAL AND BURIAL!!! HE HAS EARNED IT AS WELL AS HIS FAMILY HAS!! ANYONE THAT DOESN'T THINK SO IS JUST PLAIN STUPID!!! the community owes their gratitude to his family for their loved one's sacrifice. If you do something great for your community or country that cost's you your life, then you will desrve the same treatment--until then, keep your mouth shut!! "GOD, be with the family and friends of this fine man during this trying time and in the future to come. They will need your blessings and your love to help them through this tragic event. Oh, Lord put your hands on them and ease their pain and comfort them Lord with your words. In GOD's name. AMEN!"

  • NoWayyyyy Dec 13, 2011

    Amen jenzinnia.....agreed.

  • jenzinnia Dec 13, 2011

    this is continued...sorry for the keystroke slip,

    but then there are people like you that want to critique someone's funeral. How do you know those hundreds of officers were on or off duty? Even if they were on duty, I can guarantee you they had back up....regardless.

    Personally, I feel it was very appropriate and heartfelt, and have no problem with my tax dollars supporting his memorial. Just think of all the other unjustifiable money that tax payers pay for and no one ever says a thing about that.

    A heartfelt thank you to Deputy Rhyne and his family for their devotion and committment to our Country and the Community. Godspeed.....

  • jenzinnia Dec 13, 2011

    Alwaysloving30....i try very hard to stay out of the pettiness and overlook the haters, but speaking of haters perhaps you should consider changing your handle from alwaysloving30 to alwayshating30. Not only did his wife, son, grandchildren, friends and community loose their loved one over a petty situation

  • NoWayyyyy Dec 13, 2011

    wow I hope Iam in the news for A few days when I die..I will use my security badge I guess.an use tax dollars to make the big funerals happen alwayslovingu30----Always....with that comment, you aren't worth a one-liner in the obituaries, let alone front page newsworthy. Enough said!

  • alwayslovingu30 Dec 13, 2011

    wow I hope Iam in the news for A few days when I die..I will use my security badge I guess.an use tax dollars to make the big funerals happen

  • Wendellcatlover Dec 13, 2011

    I didn't know Deputy Rhyne, but it sounds like he was one of the good ones...sad he was taken so soon and in the manner that he was. I'll definitely be praying for his family, friends and the entire community to receive some kind of peace and that they'll be able to move on with their lives in his honor.

  • lauraleigh Dec 12, 2011

    I watched as a line of law enforcement vehicles stretching probably 3 miles long made their way into the church and cemetery, this afternoon. The procession was deeply moving - all the folks in this community are still stunned by Rick's death.