To all of us in the Opelika Observer family, she was always Bita Bullet.

Somewhere, deep within us, we knew she was actually Rexena Murrielean Hubbard Barrington, but Bita and Rex will always be one and the same to us.

She never missed a deadline – the only one of our columnists who can boast such a feat.

Even the very day she passed away, Rex Barrington first thought to make sure she got in her column, just like she did every Thursday morning.

Bita Bullet’s persona was never far from Rex’s own, and those who knew her best saw through the persona quickly.

While Bita preached the values of frugality and thrift in her writing, the real Rex was generous in both money and spirit to the causes and people she believed in, donating countless hours and dollars to the Domestic Violence Intervention Center.

Who knows how many women Rex helped in her years of service? She certainly didn’t keep count – she just wanted to show love to people.

She could be known to plan a last-minute middle-of-night trip to Mexico or decide to whisk some friends and family off to Europe – just for the experience, just to see the joy on her loved ones faces as they made life experiences they’d carry with them forever.

She was never a woman who lost her sense of wonder, instilling in others a belief that all things could be possible, that the world still possessed some sort of magic to it. Numerous friends and relatives testified to this at her memorial held at Kiesel Park this Monday.

As we all made our way around the gazebo in a New Orleans-style wake for our friend, we couldn’t help but note that even as she left us, she still managed to squeeze out a little magic, to bring us all together in a celebration of her life that had more tears brought by laughter than by sorrow.

We will miss our friend and fellow columnist.

We will miss the woman who, in her e-mails, always wished us health, happiness, and fun with family.

We will miss her constant advice, brought from 91 great years on this earth – especially her ever-present sign-off of “Be careful” (she knew us all too well).

She may have left us in body, but her spirit of wonder will live forever in those of us blessed to have come into contact with her.

Farewell, Rex, until we meet again.

– The Opelika Observer Editorial Board