RHONA MARIE RUUD was born on July 23, 1961, to Robert and Darlene (Ellefson) Ruud in Sioux City, Iowa. She was baptized into the Lutheran faith in Sioux City and confirmed at Grace Lutheran Church in Yorktown Heights, New York. She grew up in Mahopac, New York. Rhona was the youngest child with five older brothers. She was a social butterfly from the very start, spending much of her childhood with numerous friends (including over 50 children in her childhood neighborhood). Rhona was an active child, playing softball and field hockey in Westchester County, New York, where she earned All-County Honors in field hockey during high school. Despite the fact that it involved eight people sharing one vehicle, Rhona truly enjoyed the cross-country family road trips, including the trips out to Minnesota during the summer. Rhona graduated from Lakeland High School in 1979, where she was voted as the friendliest of her graduating class by her peers. Following graduation, Rhona and her older brothers moved from New York to Minnesota where she lived the remainder of her adult life, currently residing in Bricelyn, Minnesota. She attended Minnesota State University – Mankato and graduated in 1983, earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. Rhona was blessed with three children, Evelyn, Christopher, and Grace. While visiting her mother in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Rhona unexpectedly fell ill and was taken to Sanford USD Medical Center. On Tuesday, January 19, 2021, Rhona passed away at the age of 59 years, five months, and 27 days surrounded by her three children. Out of an abundance of caution for friends and loved ones amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, services in honor of Rhona will be private.
Rhona enjoyed attending Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls along with her mother, Darlene. She was actively involved in her community including volunteering at local fundraisers, assisting with food bank distribution, delivering meals during the COVID-19 pandemic, being a member of the VFW Auxiliary Legion in Bricelyn, and maintaining a plot at the community garden. Rhona frequently visited residents of St. Luke’s Lutheran Care Center and assisted local businesses throughout the county with many needs including food service, delivery, and cooking.
Throughout her life, she was an avid animal lover – a passion sparked by her childhood dogs, Gigi and Red Dog. Rhona’s compassion extended to humans as well. She was a #proudmom of her three wonderful children. Rhona was dedicated to making sure her family was always put first and would fiercely defend them whenever necessary. Known to be an engaging and charismatic conversationalist, Rhona enjoyed getting to know others and sharing their company. She will be remembered for her spunky personality and friendly demeanor.
Rhona is survived by her children, Evelyn (Derek Nadeau) Leland of Baltimore, Maryland and Christopher Leland of Baltimore, Maryland, and Grace Leland of Minneapolis, Minnesota; mother, Darlene Ruud of Sioux Falls; siblings, Joel Ruud (partner Elizabeth) of Atlanta, Georgia, David (Janis) Ruud of Holmes, New York, Stanley (Lisa Rae) Ruud of Edina, Minnesota, Jason (Mary) Ruud of Plymouth, Minnesota, and Eric (Melissa) Ruud of Shakopee, Minnesota; aunts, Beverly (Ruud) Simpson and Jessie Wenzel; and her uncle, Stuart Ruud. She is preceded in death by her father, Robert Ruud, and grandparents, John and Della Ellefson and Elmer and Irene Ruud.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to Evelyn Leland.