- June 19, 2019
Janesville -- Rhoda Joann Berger, 86, passed away peacefully Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at Mercy Hospital in Janesville, WI with her son, David, by her side. It is said that the Greeks never wrote obituaries. Instead they asked one question after someone passed: "Did they have passion?" Those who knew and loved Rhoda, can unequivocally say she lived her life with passion. She was a loving mother of five boys, a kind sister, a terrific grandma, a sassy aunt, and a true friend. She lived a very happy life; from her birthplace in Superior, WI, to Janesville, WI where she grew up and graduated from high school and then to Fargo, ND where she met her husband, Bob, and her first child was born. Eventually, she settled with her little family in Salisbury, MD, followed by the births of four more boys.
For many years Rhoda worked selling pianos, organs and other musical instruments. She also taught piano lessons to many residents. Rhoda was known to "sit in" with some popular local musicians; notably Maude and Earl. Her career eventually took her to Lake Worth, FL where she retired. Upon her return to Janesville, she worked part time at HealthNet. It has been noted that Rhoda was very good at cheating at Rummikub. She denied all allegations. She rocked the caftans, and originally started the trend of the large sunglasses. Her Bloody Marys were legendary.
Rhoda is survived by four of her sons: Michael (Linda), Mark, David (Jamie) and Bill Berger; her brother, Keith (Jan) Christianson; and sister, Ruth (Michael) Thayer; along with many beloved grandchildren; two great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her eldest son, Robert (Brick) Berger; her parents, Gerald and Mildred Christianson; her brother, Ivan Christianson; and sisters: Phyllis Christianson, Beverly Maurer, Patt Knutson; and her daughter in law, Meg. In Rhoda's Advanced Directive, she wrote, "I have had a wonderful life thanks in most part to my family brothers, sisters and sons. Thanks for just being who you are. Curiosity has helped keep me alive this long and somehow I'll let you know how it all turns out." We'll be waiting. Thank you for showing us it is okay to question, be curious and love with abandon.
According to her wishes, there will be no memorial service. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation in her name to the charity of your choice.