Rhonda Lee Peil Hoffmann went to heaven
with her family by her side on June 15, 2020.
Rhonda was born on November 10, 1957 in
Bay County, Michigan to Norma and Ronald Peil. Shortly thereafter, she
discovered that she could usually get her way through sheer determination and
embraced that principle for the remainder of her life, each day of which she
lived to the fullest. Rhonda spent her childhood years in Michigan with her
colorful family whose love for each other was boundless and whose antics ought
not be described in a respectable publication. She inherited Norma’s grit and
Ronnie’s ability to solve any problem (typically with a jig built in the
workshop), and never was able to shake the Peil spirit, which it turns out is
incurable. Her sisters and brothers were her longest and dearest friends, and
she wanted them to know how deeply she loved them.
Rhonda graduated from Michigan Lutheran
Seminary in 1975. That fall she enrolled at Dr. Martin Luther College in
Minnesota, where she met the love of her life, Gregory Hoffmann. His friends
hastened the inevitable by singing “Help me, Rhonda” whenever she crossed his
path. In celebrating this bit of lore, her children try not to dwell on the
lyrics. In any event, it wasn’t long before she captured the heart of the
basketball star, and the two were married in Kawkawlin, Michigan on July 23,
1976 after a preposterously short courtship. After settling with Greg in
Janesville, Wisconsin, Rhonda completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at
UW-Whitewater, as evidenced by a portfolio of sketches, paintings and
photographs that demonstrate a rare artistic talent and later scandalized her
children. Those children, Jeremiah, Chelsea, and Shane were a product of the
early-to-mid-1980s and, along with (or perhaps at the behest of) their mother,
embraced the style of that era well into the 1990s. The family moved to Fond du
Lac in 1987, but remained lifelong friends with the Janesville crew.
Rhonda was a gifted artist and sharp
businesswoman. She was never intimidated and repeatedly proved that no
challenge is insurmountable. When designing a Rock ’n’ Roll-themed McDonald’s,
Rhonda was tasked with tracking down guitar legend Les Paul to autograph a
collection of the Gibson guitars bearing his name. Rhonda accepted the
challenge, tracked down Les in New York, got the guitars signed and convinced
him to travel halfway across the country for the grand opening. For the next
two decades until his death, the two regularly chatted late into the night,
trading ideas, health advice (her favorite topic) and family updates. Rhonda
received many accolades for her professional work and successfully reinvented
herself more times than her family has the energy to comprehend. Her success
was attributable to a creative mind that allowed her to find solutions to
problems that others didn’t see.
Rhonda was blessed with three beautiful
and smart grandchildren, Hailey, Tyler, and Samantha, who knew her as GiGi. In
addition to being GiGi to her grandchildren, she became GiGi to countless
others who she loved and made feel special. She received immense joy from
watching her grandchildren compete in sports and her attendance was made known
to all present by her signature Xena: Warrior Princess call from the
stands, which she claimed inspired peak athletic performance. Her grandchildren loved her beyond measure
and will treasure their memories of GiGi forever. Hailey shared GiGi’s
curiosity and the two enjoyed reminiscing about their adventures, like the time
the waitress in Washington, DC asked fourteen year-old Hailey if she would like
a glass to share GiGi’s wine (Hailey declined, even though it was good wine).
Tyler inherited GiGi’s artistic talent, and the two bonded over technique. And
Samantha and GiGi could often be found together in the kitchen, watching Food Network
and baking to their hearts’ content.
Rhonda’s husband, children and,
especially, grandchildren, were the pride of her life and, much to their
dismay, she would proudly share their accomplishments with those who meant the
most to her and, to be honest, with whomever she happened to be speaking with
at any given moment. She was an incredible wife and the greatest mom and GiGi.
Rhonda was guided each day by her faith in Jesus, and that faith motivated her
to use her talents to the fullest. She was a rock until the very end and kept
her struggles private with the hope that when she was ready to share news, it
would be good news. Sometimes life throws a curveball, and her time came too
Rhonda recently brought a sweet and
perpetually hungry chocolate lab into her family’s life. Rhubarb (a.k.a. Rhuby,
Rhubes, Rhubester) brought such joy in Rhonda’s final year. Rhuby and Greg are
doing a good job taking care of each other, just as Rhonda knew they would.
Rhonda’s family loves her as deeply as
she loved them and looks forward to hearing all of her friends’ Rhonda stories
– they really can’t get enough of them.
Rhonda was preceded in death by her
parents, Ronald and Norma Peil, her infant sister Monica Peil, and her
brother-in-law Geoffrey Hoffmann.
Rhonda is survived by her loving
husband Greg, her children, Jeremiah (Audra) Hoffmann, Chelsea (Nate) Hamilton,
and Shane Hoffmann and her grandchildren, Hailey, Tyler and Samantha Hoffmann.
She is further survived by her siblings Brenda (Robert) Wakefield, Kelly
(David) Haskell, Bart (Ruthie) Peil, Brett (Laura) Peil, her father- and
mother-in-law Eugene and Geraldine Hoffmann, her brother-in-law, Randy (Barb)
Hoffmann, her sister-in-law, Susan Hoffmann, and countless aunts, uncles,
nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
An outdoor service that is open to the public will be held at Rienzi
Cemetery on Friday June 19th at 11 AM. Memorials in Rhonda’s honor
can be directed to Faith Lutheran Church’s Worship at the Cross Fund or to
Divine Savior Academy in Doral, FL. The family also intends to establish a
scholarship fund in Rhonda’s name for students who share Rhonda’s passion for
the arts. Be on the lookout.
Guestbook and tribute wall may
be found by visiting ueckerwitt.com.