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1963 Della 2024

Della Rinne

May 5, 1963 — April 27, 2024

Woodbury, Tennessee

Mrs. Della Rinne, 60, of Woodbury, Tennessee went on to be with the Lord on Saturday, April 27, 2024. Though Della was proud of her fight against cancer and that was what brought her to Tennessee a year ago this April, cancer was far from her entire story. She lived a life of spunk and resilience, adventure and mundane, and construction and contentment. Cancer was only a portion of her life, and we want to focus on the other beautiful years that she graced this earth.

Della was born in Chicago, Illinois on Sunday, May 5, 1963, and her family knew they'd changed their dynamics forever. She quickly grew into her own personality and was as feisty as a honey badger, but her quick wit and extravagance didn't mean she wanted to be independent from everyone else. Doreen recognized Della's need for connection and took Della under her wing growing up, and from that point on, Della looked up to her big sister. 

Della graduated high school and around the same time gave birth to her first baby girl, Diana. Nurturing and being there for Diana became Della's main objective, but she also wanted to show her girl that if you put your mind to it, you could do anything. With a toddler in tow, she attended school to earn her cosmetology license and later worked as a bus driver but again, life made a twist for Della.

Alisha came into the world while Della was in her late 20s, and Della didn't miss a beat. Aiming to be there for her daughters, Della continued as a bus driver and later went on to be a cafeteria cook. It helped her schedule align better with her children's lives, and Della adored making other children smile. Even so, the job title that the girls remember her for most was "homemaker."

If there ever was an energizer bunny, Della for sure was it. She didn't believe in sitting still and always wanted to do something, especially if it was a project. Her family remembers her never-ending to-do list and all of the side projects that she took on to benefit their family or others. Della did catering and enjoyed cooking desserts for events, and she also got involved with countless fundraisers and benefits helping in each-and-every way she could possibly fit into her schedule. But all work and no play would have made Della a dull girl.

Della got set up on a blind date with a man who really tried to lay it on thick and make a good first impression. Unlucky for him, he had forgotten to take the size sticker off of his pants, but lucky for him, Della found the mistake to be funny and charming. Dr. Seuss said, "We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love." That's exactly what Della and Tony did.

The love birds dated for a year or two before deciding it was time to make it official. Traveling back to Tennessee, Tony and Della were married in Doreen's yard on June 25, 2004. From there on, Della had a built-in partner on whatever project she decided to tackle. Together, they aimed to build their dream home, and remodeling was going to do just the trick. Their lives became a constant construction zone, and if Della didn't know how to do it, Tony did. 

As they grew more settled in their lives, that desire for adventure grew. Over their almost 20 years together, they traveled more than most do their entire lives. When they got a camper, it wasn't uncommon for Doreen to call, and Della to abruptly say, "Gotta go. I gotta pack." They traveled a good chunk of the United States, going to Texas, Michigan, Minnesota, and of course, Tennessee. Della enjoyed the thrill and having a fishing partner just as excited about it as she was.

Life hit Della hard when Tony passed on January 2, 2023, and her battle with cancer continued, but there was one thing you knew for certain about Della — she wasn't going to take it lying down. Throughout the difficulties of life, she'd always kept fighting with her own pizazz, and this was no exception. Moving to Tennessee, she gave everyone a shock deciding to dye her hair a fluorescent pink. 

Getting back to Tennessee so she could be closer to her sisters, Della’s unique personality and demeanor left them grasping at straws for a nickname, so they just called her "Sister." Through it all, Della maintained a positive attitude. When life gave her lemons, Della made pink lemonade. 

How could she do this? It'd be easy to say that was just Della, but really, it was because Della knew whose everlasting arms she was leaning on. Her church home had moved with her throughout the years, but in Tennessee, she attended Smith Grove Church of Christ with Doreen. God carried her through many trials in this life and blessed her with the best family and support Chiweenie that a girl could ask for. 

All of those years traveling after working on a dream home, Della had learned this world was not her home. She was just passing through, and though her family's hearts are broken, they can rest knowing she is enjoying the treasures laid up for her somewhere beyond the blue. 

Preceding her in death were her husband, Anthony "Tony" Rinne; parents, Idell and Joyce (Little) Tanner; and brother, Billy "Bo" Tanner.

She is survived by her daughters, Diana (Rilan) Robinson of Casey, Illinois and Alisha (Jacob) Nichols of Denison, Texas; siblings, Garry (Susie) Tanner of Woodbury, Sharon Marsh of Smyrna, Doreen (Jerry) Phillips of Woodbury; and Ruth (Jeff) Forbes of Martinsville, Illinois; grandchildren, Keegan Montgomery and Avalyn Robinson; service dog, Cooper; and several nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

The family will hold private services at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to assist with expenses. 

Share memories and condolences at Gentry-Smith Funeral Home, 303 Murfreesboro Rd. Woodbury, TN 37190, 615-563-5337 Because every life has a story

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Della Rinne, please visit our flower store.


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