Rita H. Rhodes, 79, of Buchanan, passed away Wednesday, April 7, 2021.
She is survived by her affectionate and faithful husband of 59 years, Kenneth Rhodes. She was the loving mother of three daughters, Sandra Jessee (Jerry Jessee), Donna Cox (Mike Cox), and Christy Barry. Rita also had four grandchildren that were the apple of her eyes; Matt Cox (Lauren Cox), Erin Nowak (Dawid Nowak), Emma Jessee (Michael Pelchat fiance), Ripley Barry; along with three great-grandchildren whom she adored, Brody Cox, Eamon Nowak, and Berkley Cox. Although she had many, many friends, Rita had three very special friends, Pat Fralin, Sherry Sink, and Cindy Finch. Pat and Rita enjoyed lots of lake time and special time spent with grandchildren while Sherry and Cindy were more like sisters and partners in shenanigans.
Rita’s life was a testament to her courageous spirit. She came to this country from Austria when she was 14 years old, surviving a horrible storm that she said should have wrecked the ship. Determined to become an American she learned the language and settled into life in Buchanan. One of the proudest days of her life was when she became a U.S. citizen. Her family was the most important thing to her and she protected them fiercely. Her spirit defined the last three years of her life as she proved all the odds wrong, surviving year after year.
Rita attended Buchanan Baptist and she loved her church family. She was always ready to help in the kitchen any way she could, where she was always known as the best cook around.
We would like to say a special thank you to Dr. Josh Morales and all the wonderful nurses at Blue Ridge Cancer Center who helped make the last three years of Rita’s life the best it could be. We are truly thankful. Also a special thank you to Good Samaritan Hospice, who supported her and provided special care.
Anyone who knew Rita knows that she loved flowers and loved gardening. While flowers are appreciated, please consider planting a beautiful red geranium at home in her honor (one of her favorites).
A casual gathering and service for family and friends was scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Barn at Back Creek Farm in Buchanan. As Rita loved feeding everyone, there was a meal for anyone that wished to join the family after the service and celebrate her life. Arrangements were by Botetourt Funeral Home.