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Millie “Polly” Rich

Posted By Hall-Wynne On June 7, 2015 @ 12:09 pm In Durham,Obituaries | 12 Comments

Millie “Polly” Rich of Durham went home to meet her Lord on June 6, following a short illness.

She was predeceased by her husband, James “Jimmy” Thomas Rich of Durham and her parents, Millie Garrett Woodlief and Leonard Woodlief of Oxford. She was also predeceased by Li’l Red, a tiny pomeranian who adopted Polly and Jimmy. She is survived by uncle Billy Woodlief of Oxford, her cousin Irvin Woodlief of Roxboro, cousins in Florida, special “adopted daughter” Connie Garrett, special friend Brent Tapp, “sisters” Dianne Barnes and Linda Longdon, and a multitude of friends from a lifetime of being a people person. She grew up in Oxford, NC and earned her degree at Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC.

Polly’s name was synonymous with travel in Durham. Over her forty-five year career working with major travel agencies, she handled business travel for many departments at Duke University, including athletics, Fuqua School of Business, Duke Law School, Duke Global Health Institute, Sanford Institute, and Duke Engage, as well as DCRI and Duke Medical. Other large accounts whose travel she handled over the years included Nortel, Cato, Siemen’s, Merck Pharmaceuticals, Measurement Inc. and Sphinx. Most recently, for the past nine years she was vice president and general manager of Cardinal Travel Service, Durham.

Polly was a member of Sherron Acres Free Will Baptist Church in Durham. She requested no funeral or memorial service be held, preferring that friends remember her by the happy times they shared. Anyone wishing to honor Polly can send donations in her name to Second Chance Pet Adoptions, 6003 Chapel Hill Road, Raleigh, NC 27607. The family is being assisted by Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, Durham. Online condolences at www.hallwynne.com


Condolences for the family of “Millie “Polly” Rich”

Condolence from Jerry and Judy Carroll on June 8th, 2015 10:33 am

We are members of SHERRON ACRES Freewill Baptist Church were we meet Jimmy and Polly. We fell in love with them both right away. We have missed Jimmy a lot and will miss Polly also. I hope they know how much they were loved and appreciated for all they did. We had a close bond because of Red. We also had a Pomeranian for fifteen years, LADY, which looked just like Red. We all are richer for having these two in our family and they will forever be in our hearts until we see them again. May GOD bless her family that she left behind for now. May GOD be with you all.

Condolence from Deb McCallum on June 9th, 2015 5:56 am

My thoughts and prayers are with the family. Polly was a great person and will be missed dearly by many Fuqua employees she has helped over the years.

Condolence from Elaine Madison on June 9th, 2015 9:33 am

I had the pleasure of working with Polly for the past seven years. I so much appreciated her good humor, kindness, and commitment to providing her clients with the best service possible. I will miss her as a friend and colleague, but I will never forget her.

Condolence from Tammie Shotwell on June 9th, 2015 3:33 pm

To Polly’s Family, Connie, Brent, Friends & Cardinal Travel:
My sincerest, heartfelt sympathy & condolences for your loss.
May GOD bless and comfort you during this most difficult time.
Brent, you made her life whole again and she was happier than I’ve ever seen her.
Her face would light up when she talked about her “friend”. She actually looked younger and more beautiful after the two of you started spending time together.
I’m so sorry for your loss and I will keep you close in my thoughts and prayers.
I will miss her more than words can say. I will miss our lunches and her emails, her beautiful smile, her laugh, her company but most of all I will miss her hugs and friendship. I will hold those memories close forever.
I had the pleasure of meeting Polly many years ago through business and have been a fan since. She had the best sense of humor and personality (for those who knew her well, that finger)! Although my heart aches right now and I never got the chance to say “goodbye” I know she’s with Jimmy and Red therefore, she’s happy and at peace. You were a beautiful, caring and loving woman of GOD and now you, Jimmy & Red are a family again.

Condolence from Bobby Chambers on June 10th, 2015 7:07 am

POLLY YOU WILL BE TRUELY MISSED, YOU AND JIM WERE MY FAMILY FOR OVER 20 YEARS. WE ALL ENJOYED SITTING AROUND YOUR FAMILIES FARM WERE I LIVED FOR MANY YEARS AND USED TO SIT AND ENJOY THE STORIES YOU WOULD TELL OF ALL THE HISTORY OF IT. BUT MOST OF ALL ENJOYED HAVING YOU AND JIM IN MY LIFE FOR SO MANY YEARS YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN AND ALL THE LOVE YOU SHARED..

Condolence from Jill Tomlinson on June 10th, 2015 11:47 am

Polly was a wonderful friend and a dedicated business partner. Customer service by Polly was always delivered with a beautiful smile — even with our most challenging travelers. Always quick to inquire about your family or latest work challenge, Polly really did make everyone feel special — not just a client, but a true friend. Rest in peace Polly — a life well lived.

Condolence from Gary Garrett on June 10th, 2015 2:00 pm

Polly’s mother and I were first cousins so I guess that makes Polly my second cousin. I had not seen Polly in probably 40 years. I spoke to her in 2010 concerning the “Geneology of the Garrett Family” book that was being put together. She told me several stories about her granddaddy Hooty Garrett. In fact she said that her granddaddy was the one that named her Polly. Even though I did not have close contact with Polly I will miss her.

Gary

Condolence from Jenny Hill Potter on June 10th, 2015 2:24 pm

My condolences to the family and friends of Polly. She was indeed a people person. She and I shared an apartment for a few years in the late 60’s & early 70’s in Durham before either of us married. We enjoyed many happy experiences together during those early years. She was starting her career with AAA and I was starting in research at Duke. We lost touch over the years but I look back over those early years when we were young and just starting out in the adult world with a great deal of fondness. She was a very special friend.

Condolence from Beth Shepard on June 10th, 2015 4:16 pm

Polly came in to my life by chance. One of my coworkers had a baby and I started doing her hair about 33 years ago. She followed me all around town (9 different places). Polly’s beautiful natural red hair was gorgeous all her life. She was recently asked what color she used to get her hair red. She loved the question because she was proud to say we never used color on her hair. Red hair occurs naturally on approximately 1–2% of the human population. Another reason why she was so special.
One thing many people do not know is Polly had become my rock. She took me in as her own. With this she taught me all of her life and business life lessons she had learned.
She was one of the strongest women I have known. She helped me become a strong woman from her wisdom which was shared and her belief in me.
Brent – Bless you for the happiness you gave Polly. Your family included her and it meant the so much to her. She enjoyed the time she spent with you and them. Her big smiles lately had been for you.
Connie – Polly was so proud of you. If gave her peace to know she had you to back her up plus you are her Daughter. Bless you for everything.
Tulip & Lotus- The sisters who she never had. You both had her heart. What a great story the 3 of you share.

Last night when I was on the way home I saw the most beautiful RED sunset. It made me think there must be a party in heaven right now.
All of the “REDs” (Polly, Jimmy (when he had hair it was red) and their little girl “Red”) are back together again.

Condolence from Corinne on June 12th, 2015 2:27 pm

My first memory of Polly was on the playground at C.G.Credle school in Oxford. I remember I was transfixed
by the beautiful red hair of a little girl bouncing around the big tree near our first grade classrooms. I don’t think I had ever seen hair that color in all my six years.
Several years later I remember on Polly’s sixteenth birthday her parents gave her (as I recall) a beautiful blue Chevy with a white top.You could tell she was the apple of her daddy’s eye.
Sometimes when I was visiting
my grandmother,who lived on the same road , Polly and a close neighbor friend would stop by and pick me up.The three of us would head to town where we would ride from one teenage hangout to another checking out the action in Oxford.
This past week has triggered many memories of the wonderful times shared with Polly in high school.
You will always have a place in my heart dear old buddy.

Condolence from Mary Wester Arnett on June 12th, 2015 11:54 pm

My mother worked with Polly at AAA Travel for years prior to me being born and for many years after. My parents, she, and Jimmy became great friends over the years. Despite the fact that we didn’t see one another that frequently, they were a meaningful and fond part my childhood. I will fondly remember them and (lil’ Red) both for as long as I live.

I now live in Oklahoma with my husband and three children. Fortunately, I had the chance to see Polly last year when I visited my mother in North Carolina and was able to introduce her to my three little ones. She was the same wonderful Polly I knew as a child. I will miss her fiery personality and humor; she had a great spirit and an even bigger heart. She was a special person that is completely irreplaceable.

Condolence from Trish on June 13th, 2015 1:59 pm

Polly was a whirlwind of energy. She treated her airline reps like clients, treated clients like family and treated us employees like rock stars. Polly never saw a holiday or birthday she couldn’t celebrate. For staff birthdays, we all went out to the birthday person’s favorite restaurant where cards, gifts and favorite cakes (or cup cakes) awaited. She was one of Durham’s best cooks – just ask the clients who received Polly’s homemade fudge at Christmas, or staff/friends who attended an office pot luck lunch or birthday lunch. Employees who had moved on returned to many of these celebrations, which turned into even more fun, like Homecoming. When business was good, she hosted a staff lunch because we were working so hard. When business was slow, she threw a staff pot luck to raise our morale.

Polly was a star in all aspects of her life. She went with Jimmy to car shows, riding in his ‘38 Chevy. She rode behind him on his Harley, wearing her leather Bull Street Riders jacket. My favorite Polly/Jimmy story is the Sunday when Polly was sitting in church at Sherron Oaks Free Will Baptist, before Jimmy found our Lord and joined the church too. Jimmy was at home directly across the street, in his big shop behind the house. His CB name was Trouble Maker and he loved to make unmannerly noises to announce his presence on the radio. Over at the church, a choir tenor stepped to the podium to sing a solo. As he lifted the microphone, a huge “burp” erupted. He said, “Oh, my Lord, was that me?” Then an even louder raspberry sound erupted. Polly popped up in her pew, her face flaming as red as her hair, and marched out of church as everyone stared. She threw open the door at the shop, yelled “Shut that thing off!!”, which everyone over at Sherron Oaks heard as well. From that day forward, Jimmy was forbidden to turn on his CB while Polly was in church.

Polly loved people, Duke University and the Blue Devils, church, chocolate meringue pies at Meadow Village, big handbags, circle “hippie” skirts, Coach K, Mustang convertibles, 60’s and ‘70s music, Costco hot dogs, funny emails, gold jewelry, spray tan, QVC, talking on the phone and living life. She was one of a kind and we are lucky to have known and loved her.

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