Rhonda C. Vrba, devoted family woman, dies at 62.
After a long battle with cancer over more than two decades, Rhonda Clair Vrba died on Monday, August 27, at her Harding Township, NJ home with her sister, Ann and her mother, Joan, by her side.
First diagnosed with breast cancer in 1995, Rhonda had multiple reoccurrences over many years. Despite her cancer, Rhonda always had a smile for everyone and a special kind greeting for any dog that she met while walking her beloved Cockapoo Lili. Rhonda explained that Lili is really a “cat dog,” . . . small and adorable with an uncanny ability to demand total admiration. Rhonda admitted that she was Fan#1 of the dog she shared with her mother.
Born in Council Bluffs, IA, Rhonda’s family roots are in the heartland of the country, Nebraska. Over the years the family lived in St. Louis, Cleveland, Los Angeles and for many years New Jersey.
Rhonda graduated from the University of Southern California in 1978 and was a lifelong USC football fan. In recent years she attended several Rolling Hills High School and USC alumni events reconnecting with her California friends.
She loved to ski, sail and travel. Ski trips included Vermont on a regular basis, Switzerland and Utah. Travel included trips to Australia and Europe.
Over the years, she found time to return to Nebraska to visit her Grandmother Clara and her Uncle John, both now deceased. Annually on Thanksgiving weekend, she and her Uncle enjoyed attending the Nebraska football game.
When her mother, father, Ronald (now deceased), sister, and brother moved to New Jersey in 1975, Rhonda was torn between the West Coast and the East Coast. Family won the challenge of where to reside. For 20 years, Rhonda worked as an insurance underwriter for Blue Cross in Newark, retiring in 2012.
As recently as July, Rhonda traveled with her mother, sister and brother to Florence and Rome, Italy for 10 days. She kept up a rigorous schedule of tourist destinations in the summer heat, thrilled to see the Colosseum and Michelangelo’s David.
Rhonda leaves behind her beloved mother Joan K. Vrba, her brother Charles John Vrba, both of Harding Township; her sister Ann K. Baumgarten, her brother-in-law Mark I. Baumgarten, her niece Leah K. Baumgarten and, her nephews David V. Baumgarten and Noah I. Baumgarten all of Hillsdale, NJ.