Music 21

Rhonda Alicica (Hepburn) Tuton

August 23, 1960 ~ May 8, 2020 (age 59)


In Memory of Rhonda


Rhonda Alicia (Hepburn) Tuton, nearly 60 years old, died around 12:30 AM, Friday, May 8, in the Ferncliff Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Rhinebeck, New York.  She died from complications of MS.  How we will miss her!


The last of eight children, Rhonda was born August 23, 1960.  Despite a full house and talented parents, Rhonda made her mark early, drawing on strong family influences, whether in religion, art, education, or community involvement.  Likely because our brownstone in Brooklyn, New York had the most children in the neighborhood, it attracted children from everywhere, Philip Hepburn Sr. and especially Edith (Morris) Hepburn presiding over a culturally diverse brood, present day and night.   At four years of age, Rhonda rose first.  Precocious, she quietly dressed herself, and whenever someone rang our doorbell, she entertained them until everyone else got up.  Much changed in our big family, but for a time, she was our family’s tiniest hostess. 


Having grown up in a house that regularly attended church, served as an acolyte, participated in camp life, and in our home bible studies, she kept the faith.  Rhonda was little when she learned from Mom, Dad, and our oldest, showbiz brother Philip Jr. aesthetics of good dramatic art.  She loved performing in the many talent shows that the whole neighborhood staged in our home, or front or backyard.  She loved reading, rehearsing, donning costumes, directing, and all the rewards that she earned for attending to detail and good expression in school and elsewhere.  She loved that Mom checked the homework of all the neighbors nightly studying with us in our home.  Not surprisingly, Rhonda earned a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts at Bard College in New York, where she met and married James Tuton and served on Bard’s College Board, later working in Public Relations for IBM.


Whether she was helping her peers draft papers, stage-managing a production, singing and acting in one, or planning huge annual events for IBM families, Rhonda’s creative attributes and considerate character shone.  Well liked, she made friends in the States and abroad.  Many will remember her as a stylishly fun force, full of life.  She remained so until the end, as folks in Ferncliff will attest.


Because COVID-19 makes this a dramatic moment in all of our lives, a memorial service will be announced at a later date, likely on her birthday in 2021.  In lieu pf flowers, please post memorable stories, statements, photos, and clips, etc. to Rhonda’s Facebook Page.  We welcome your support through remembrances posted there over the coming year.


We already miss her, but we know she has joined Mom, Dad, and our siblings Katherine and James.  Rhonda is survived by her spouse Jimmy, her son Eddie, and his wife Caroline, but also her sibs Joan, Bradley, Audrey, Edith, and Gregory; her nieces and nephews Lauren, Victoria, Philip, Alicia, Yvanna, and Brandon, many more adult loved ones, and a host of little ones.


Rhonda, we pray now with God for you, “Beloved, I wish above all things that you might prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers” (3 John 2).  Therefore, rest in peace.


The Hepburn Family


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