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Rhonda Gearhart
April 24, 1949 - May 20, 2019

Rhonda Lea Gearhart, 70, passed away at her home Monday, May 20, 2019 after a courageous battle with cancer since 2015.  Visitation will be Friday, May 24 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Geilenfeld Funeral Home, Oelwein, and 1 hour before funeral services on Saturday.    Funeral services will be at 11:00 a.m., Saturday May 25 at Grace United Methodist Church, Oelwein with Pastor Rick Johnson officiating.  A private burial will occur at a later date in Woodlawn Cemetery, Oelwein.   A memorial fund has been established to create a scholarship in Rhonda’s name.

Rhonda was born April 24, 1949, in Sumner, daughter of Joe and Maxine (Schmudlach)  Dean.   She graduated from Oelwein Community High School in 1967.  Rhonda worked for the Oelwein Schools, Oelwein State Bank and the Ames State Bank previously to marrying the love of her life, Jeff Gearhart on June 2nd, 1973.   They were united in marriage at the Zion Lutheran Church in Oelwein.   Two sons were born to this family, Jason and Mitch.  Rhonda was all about family and worked diligently to create a healthy family environment and was very proud to pass this environment along to her sons’ families. 

She then moved to Dallas Center and Rhonda worked at the Benton Bank for 1 year before they moved to Jesup.  After another year, they moved to Oelwein making it their last move.  After her 2 sons started school, Rhonda went back to work part time and then full time for 29 total years at K-mart.  She became the department manager for a variety of departments at one time or another, electronics, appliances, jewelry, clothing before retiring on Halloween in 2008.

In her spare time, Rhonda and Jeff spent much of their time following their boys around in a variety of sporting events.  Rhonda always had a passion working with her flowers and found earning the community Spiffy Award to be very rewarding for all her effort.  She also loved to shop, especially at Goodwill and always tried to look her best.  She also enjoyed antiques and as a hobby she and Jeff sold antiques in consignment stores.  Playing cards was also enjoyable to Rhonda.  Rhonda was a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother.  She loved all the time she spent with family and they will miss her great love and support.  The 5 grandchildren were special and they all loved her ice cream birthday cakes.

Rhonda is survived by her husband, Jeff of Oelwein; her two sons, Jason (Michelle) Gearhart and their children, Ray, Libby, and Sara of Oelwein and Mitch (Alyson) Gearhart and their children Clara and Abe of Grimes, Iowa; her mother, Maxine Dean of Oelwein; a brother-in-law Dave (Nancee) Gearhart of Oelwein and several nieces and nephews.  She was preceded in death by her father Joe Dean.

The family would like to thank the compassionate doctors along the way with her journey;  Dr. Anthony Leo, Oelwein; Dr. Merfeld and especially Dr. Wilbur from Hall-Perrine in Cedar Rapids.  The family also would like to thank all the compassionate employees with ST. Croix Hospice that were so wonderful for Rhonda’s care.

A mother’s love is a unique gift that touched our hearts and lasts forever.  What a gift God gave us. 


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Anonymous on April 24, 2020 at 10:29 AM said:

Rhonda, My Sweetie, today would be your 71st birthday. You passed away way too young. LOVE YOU FOREVER
C.M. Irvine on June 3, 2019 at 8:32 AM said:

Such a kind woman, such a beautiful soul. You were so very blessed to have her in your lives. Thank you for sharing her with us. She is so missed, but fondly remembered.
Carol Tousley on May 28, 2019 at 12:19 PM said:

So sorry to hear about Rhonda. Thoughts and prayers. I was out of town, but thinking of the family.
Robin and Bill Rosenstiel on May 28, 2019 at 5:41 AM said:

Jeff and all the Gearhart Family,Sending our deepest sympathy
Lydia Emme on May 26, 2019 at 1:37 PM said:

I am sorry to read of your Wife's passing. I hope all your years since retirement were filled with the both of spending a lot of time enjoying a lot of Great Times together.
Kathy Lenth on May 25, 2019 at 12:41 PM said:

I knew Rhonda as an acquaintance and always enjoyed it when I saw her. While I did not know her well enough to be in her circle of close friends, all the same, she always had a smile, greeting & easy conversation whether I saw her at the pool, walking by the house, grocery store, etc. She will be missed by many. My condolences to the family.
Joyce Geistkemper on May 25, 2019 at 9:05 AM said:

Jeff and family,
My thoughts and prayers have been with you since I heard that Rhonda was sick. My sympathies are with you, and I'm sorry for not being able to attend I'm in Des Moines for preschool graduation! Rhonda always greeted me with a smile and we would talk out kids!
Don & Carolyn Beier on May 25, 2019 at 5:34 AM said:

Dear Jeff & family,so very sorry to hear about your loss.Loved Rhonda when she was at K-Mart always a very happy & pleasant lady.Please know that our thoughts & prayers are with you all.We all know that Rhonda is in a wonderful place now. Don & Carolyn Beier
Anonymous on May 25, 2019 at 5:25 AM said:

Rhonda has ALWAYS had a special place in the hearts of the Dorothy and Bernie McKinley family. We’ve loved Rhonda from the minute we saw her beautiful hair and fun spirit. She has been such a blessing to our family since she was 5 years old , wheeling Skip at age 3 around in a wagon ., etc. Like a bright Angel she has brought so much light to our lives. She will be missed . We are thankful she is receiving her reward in heaven for her faith in Jesus and all the joy she gave to us . We are praying for you to feel Gods peace and comfort and strength and hope knowing Rhonda’s love and her prayers are ever with us . We love you from Dorothy , Skip Kathy , And rest of Bernie McKinley family
Robert (Bob) and Mary Ann Gardner on May 23, 2019 at 8:40 PM said:

You have our sincere condolences. We will hold you and your family up in prayer. Peace ole locker buddy.
Pat (Goede) Bowden on May 23, 2019 at 3:33 PM said:

So very sorry for your loss, Jeff. Sending many thoughts and prayers your way.
Eric DT on May 23, 2019 at 11:30 AM said:

Jason, Fiddy, Mitch- Sorry to hear the news. Thinking of you guys. RIP
Ann Steffen Twedt on May 23, 2019 at 9:48 AM said:

Jeff, so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Rhonda was such a sweetheart and will be missed.
Dave & Mary Sturm on May 23, 2019 at 3:57 AM said:

Sorry for your loss.
Doug and Debbie Nuss on May 22, 2019 at 8:56 PM said:

You are all in our thoughts and prayers.
Rhonda was a very special lady and will be greatly missed
Doug and Debbie
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