Laconia-Rhea Coleman Guild, civic and church leader, dramatist, and naturalist, died on Wednesday, March 13, 2002 at the Congregate Living Center of the Taylor Home Community. She was 94.
Rhea was born in Midway, Utah, on May 19, 1907, the ninth of eleven children. Her parents Emily Springer and Henry Threlkeld Coleman were children of Mormon pioneers.
Rhea graduated from Wasatch High School in Heber City. She attended Brigham Young University, majoring in teacher education. She also attended Utah State University, taking special programs in childrens pageantry and outdoor activities.
Rhea taught miners children in a one-room schoolhouse at the Bristol Silver Mine, Nevada, and at Soldier Summit, Utah. During the summers, Rhea traveled with the Swarthmore and the Redpath Chautauqua circuits working as a leader of the junior program here in the East.
She married Lawrence Winfield Guild of Boston on New Years Eve, December 31, 1930, in Grafton, MA, and they settled in Braintree. In the Boston area, Rhea volunteered for the W. W. II Red Cross, the Visiting Nurse Well Baby Clinic, the Rice Eventide Home Auxiliary, the Church Sodalitas, and the Philergians Womens Club.
Rhea had an abiding love of pageantry, drama, and poetry. She attended the Curry and Russell Schools of Expression. Her many poetry readings and roles with Brain-way and Gilford Gaslight Players, and her pageants were enchanting. A few of her poems have been published and have won awards.
In 1944, Larry and Rhea moved to Smiling Hill Farm in Gilford, NH. Rhea was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and as one of the first members in the Lakes Region, she helped established the Laconia Ward of the church. In the church, she served as president of the Laconia Relief Society (womens auxiliary), president of the New Hampshire District Relief Society, Relief Society visiting teacher, Sunday school teacher, and cultural refinement instructor. With her husband, Larry, she served an eighteen-month mission to the Washington DC Temple.
In the Lakes Region, Rhea served as president of the Laconia Womens Club and later the Gilford Womens Club. She was the recipient of the N. H. Wreath Award for initiating and sponsoring Corrective Surgery for handicapped and mentally-challenged youth at the Laconia State School. She also served as
Plymouth District Director, as president of the New Hampshire State Federation of Womens Clubs, as vice president of the New England Conference representing New Hampshire, and as a director of the General (national) Federation of Womens clubs.
She was named Outstanding U. S. Civic Leader and received the Golden Circle Award for Civic Activities. In 1967, she was named Mother of the Year for New Hampshire and later served as president of the Mothers Committee. In 1987, she was the grand marshal of the Gilford Old Home Day Parade.
Rhea was a long-term substitute at the Gilford Elementary School. She also was a Girl Scout leader for ten years and served as president of the Laconia Girl Scout Council and director of Camp Winsheblo.
She was a member of the Thompson Ames Historical Society, Church Women United, the Salvation Army Auxiliary, the DAR, board member of the Lakes Region General Hospital, board member of the State 4-H, judge of the Miss New Hampshire Beauty Pageant, an incorporator of the Taylor Home for twenty-seven years, and most recently, president of A.A.R.P.
Rhea lived her last years at the Taylor Home where she served as president of the resident council and provided the residents with many interesting programs.
Rhea leaves her daughters Cynthia Kling of Starksboro, Vermont, and Marcia Gibbs with her husband Richard of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and her son Larry Guild with his wife Sharon of Gilford, New Hampshire; 14 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren; her sister Chloe C. Madsen of Provo, Utah; and many nieces and nephews.
Her husband Lawrence W. Guild died in 1984, a grandchild Matthew Gibbs in 1975, and her daughter-in-law Ginny Guild in 1995.
Calling Hours will be held on Sunday, March 17, 2002 from 4:00-7:00 PM in the Carriage House of the Wilkinson-Beane Funeral Home, 164 Pleasant Street, Laconia, NH.
A funeral service will be held on Monday, March 18, 2002 at 11:00 AM at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Old North Main Street, Laconia, NH. Bishop Michael Billin will officiate.
Spring burial will be in the family lot in Pine Grove Cemetery, Gilford, NH.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Laconia Ward Welfare & Missionary Funds Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), Old North Main Street, Laconia, NH 03246.
Wilkinson-Beane Funeral Home, 164 Pleasant Street, Laconia, NH is in charge of the arrangements.