Nancy Jo Rife

Obituary of Nancy Jo Rife

Nancy Jo Rife, known to many as “Joey”, was born June 11 1940 in Bellefontaine Ohio to Mr. and Mrs. Robert (Mabel) Buckenroth. Joey was a very caring person who loved the Lord so much. While holding her husband’s hand, on March 7, 2022 at 5:05 pm at Ted and Diane Hospice House in Summerfield FL she went to be with her savior, Jesus Christ.

Joey attended Bellefontaine High School. She worked at Dee’s Clothing Store, Myers Shoe Store and then continued an 8 year career at Siemens. After knowing Joey since the seventh grade, in 1980 George Rife was reintroduced into Joey’s life through a friend and they were set up on a date.

As they say “the rest is history”. Well not quite, you get to hear more. While in Bellefontaine, Joey was a champion league bowler, often recognized in the Bellefontaine Examiner and a member of the Moose Lodge of Indian Lake. Joey was also a wonderful mother to her son Michael E (Mike) Smith and Debra Jo (Debbie) Smith. Also early in her life, at age 37, she became a grandmother and helped take the best care of her granddaughter, Jessica May (Smith) Gentle in 1978. Joey’s mother Mabel Mae Buckenroth lived only a couple blocks away from Joey and George which made a close family even closer. She cared for her mother every day bringing groceries and stopping by to make sure she had everything she needed. Joey was a very busy and caring woman.

Once her mother passed, Joey and George moved to The Villages, FL. Now Joey was close to her sisters Barbara (Tudy) Cooper and Samantha (Sammy) Houchin. She and George became members of the First Baptist Church of Oxford where they proceeded to become part of the community and loved by so many. She was also a member of the American Legion Auxillary of Lady Lake FL.

In her recent years Joey was an avid Andy Griffith rerun watcher. She always loved old westerns, and never missed an episode of Young and the Restless or Bold and the Beautiful. If you met Joey today she would tell you so many stories and make sure you are healthy and safe. She had a memory like no other and was still sharp as a tack up until the day she rose to the Lord. Joey will be missed by many people and even her neighbor dog “Beemer” who she always said “I don’t care if they don’t allow animals to my funeral, I want Beemer there!”.

Joey is survived by her husband George of the Village of Chatam FL and son Michael Edwin Smith of Marysville Ohio. Step son Steven Rife; step daughters Jana Mitchell and Jill Kinney. Joey and George have eleven grand children, Jessica May (Smith) Gentle, Nicholas Michael Smith, Courtney Allison (Smith) Brown, Connor Michael (Dooger) Smith, Steven Manville, Kaylee Manville, Derek Manville, Tyler Mitchell, Morgan Mitchell, Jessica Rife, Jordan Rife; and eleven great grandchildren. She is also survived by sisters Barbara (Tudy) Cooper and Samantha (Sammy) Houchin of The Villages FL. Joey’s niece Terri Noe was a big part of her life helping she and George in recent years along with the James neighbors, and dog Beemer, who often checked in and spent time with them. Neighborhood friend, Jerry delivers the mail every day with his dog, Dori (deceased) who Joey came to hold dear to her heart.

Joey was preceded in death by her parents Robert Edwin and Mable Mae Buckenroth of Bellefontaine Ohio; her daughter, Debra Jo (Debbie) Smith and former husband, Neil Smith.

Joey will be cremated and laid to rest at Bushnell National Cemetery in FL. No services at this time. For those who wish to give to Joey’s family or in her name, we ask only that you say a prayer to her where she sits with her family and her savior Jesus Christ.

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