She was born on August 26, 1928, in Smithfield, North Carolina, to Albert George Rabil and Eva Nassif Rabil who had immigrated from Lebanon. Rosa Nell grew up and graduated from Wagram High School and furthered her education in Raleigh, NC. She married Rubin Baxley in 1947 and they moved to Sylvester, Georgia, and, later, Richland, Georgia where they had many bridge-playing friends and made many life-long friendships and memories. In 1962 they relocated to the panhandle of Florida, where Rosa lived for 58 years. She worked as an executive secretary for the State of Florida Department of Agriculture for 28 years. Rosa was a founding member of the Saint Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Chipley. She was a very active member of the Church, which she dearly loved and loved planning dinners, playing the organ, arranging the flowers, typing the bulletins, etc. and served as a Eucharistic minister. Rosa was a member of Friends of the Library, held officer positions and was selected as “Friend of the Library” for a year. She was a virtuous woman and lived a life of love, faith, and service. She dearly loved her family, friends, God, and the Catholic faith, as well as her community. Rosa was proud to be a part of the United States and was extremely patriotic and had a great love for her country. She was often described as being the epitome of a Southern lady – dignified, strong, having a good sense of humor, as well as always having on her lipstick, perfume, and “stylish” attire. Rosa loved entertaining and loved having people “drop in” and visit – southern hospitality.
Rosa was preceded in death by her parents, Albert George and Eva Rabil, her beloved husband, Rubin, and her cherished siblings, Mitchell Rabil and Agnes Kearney.
Rosa is survived by her three children: Mary Davis (Greg) of Graceville, Florida; Nell Swails (Richard) of Marianna, Florida; and Mitch Baxley of Panama City Beach, Florida, and friend, Julie Larsen; five grandchildren: Dylan Swails (Heather) of Huntington Station, New York; Kelsey Lovering (Brian) of Dothan, Alabama; Skylar Walden (Jeremy) of Navarre, Florida; Chelle Baxley of Panama City Beach, Florida; Harrison Baxley of Tampa, Florida; 2 great grandchildren, Ezra Rose Walden, and Odin Ryker Walden; as well as a host of nieces and nephews; all of whom she loved fully.
She will be greatly missed by her family and friends. A funeral Mass to honor her memory will be held on Saturday, January 30, 2021, at ll:00 AM at Saint Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Chipley, Florida, with Father Will Ganci, Father Phil Fortin, and Rev. Gino Mayo officiating. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the church.
Donations in her name may be made to Saint Joseph the Worker Catholic Church. The family of Rosa Nell wishes to thank her dedicated caregivers, Jackie Foster and Anita Clarke, Emerald Coast Hospice, especially Chelsea, Kim, Jennifer, and Kaitlyn – and all those who loved and supported her throughout her life.