Mary A. Rhode (Kostelecky), 87, passed away unexpectedly Jan. 4, 2018. Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, at St. Anne's Catholic Church. Interment will be at Fairview Cemetery and will take place late spring/early summer, 2018.
Family will recognize friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Bismarck Funeral Home, with rosary to follow at 7 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to American Diabetes or American Heart Association in Mary's honor and memory.
Mary was born to Frank and Pauline (Sykora) Kostelecky Oct. 30, 1930, near Belfield. She spent her childhood in Dickinson and was the third eldest of nine siblings. Mary graduated from North Dakota State School of Science, Wahpeton, in 1952, as an LPN and obtained her first nursing assignment at Gackle Health Center, opening the doors to her future career.
Mary found the love of her life and married Robert (Bob) Rhode in Dickinson, on Nov. 10, 1954. They made their home in Bismarck, raising two children as she continued to pursue her career.
She was born to be a nurse and children became the focus of her long career. Mary was employed by St. Alexius Hospital's children’s department for 12 years. Her compassion and love for sick children did not go unnoticed by a young pediatric doctor. She joined Dr. William (Bill) Riecke's team at Q&R Clinic in 1965, where together they provided compassionate healthcare to the area children for 15 years. When Dr. Riecke made the decision to specialize in asthma and allergies, he wanted Mary by his side. Let's say he "insisted" she continue on his team. She accepted the challenge and expanded her experience in this specialized field, accepting the position with Heart and Lung Clinic in Mandan, in 1980, where she finished her career and retired after 19 years in 1999. During these years, Mary held numerous private duty assignments in addition to her full time work. Following her retirement, she continued her life of service and provided long term private duty services for Mrs. Bernadette Dunnigan and just recently formally retired 'again' after working for Mrs. Pat Caudel for several years.
Throughout her career, Mary had many professional accomplishments. She served as President of NDLPN Association, was on the State Board of Nursing, National Chairman of State Presidents, and the State Chairman of Legislation and Bylaws. In 1997, she was the recipient of the State LPN Hall of Fame Award.
Mary was a proud democrat and loved her Democratic Women friends. A highlight was working on both the Obama and Clinton presidential campaigns. She loved to dance, listen to music, and spend time in her yard, and every so often, her "scotch and water." Mary never met a stranger, and was always the life of the party. She was referenced as a 'true pioneer woman' who was able to do and accomplish almost anything she set her mind to. Mary was a 'doer' her entire life, and often said, "You can rest when you're dead." She always had a rosary and ended every conversation with, "God Bless You."
Mary is survived by her son, retired Col. Charles (Pam) Rhode, Roswell, Ga.; daughter, Linda Heitz (Scott Stroupe), Hot Springs, Ark.; sisters, Bette Gottsacker, Gervais, Ore., Rosemary (Don) Jablonsky, Haslet, Texas, Frances Thompson (Bob Ober), Valencia, Pa.; brothers, Pete Kostelecky, Dickinson, Don (Pat) Kostelecky, Battle Lake, Minn.; four grandchildren, Susan (Matthew) Boucher, Acworth, Ga., Jason (Amanda) Heitz, Brillion, Wis., Lisa (Sean) Brandon, Eagan, Minn., and Katie (Mark) Randolph, Roswell; six great-grandchildren, Alyce and Gabriel Boucher, Corbin and Rose Heitz, Dominic Brandon, and Anna Randolph; as well as many nieces and nephews. Mary was very proud of her family and loved each of them, unconditionally.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Pauline Kostelecky; husband, Robert Rhode; sisters, Sophie and Marie Kostelecky; brother, Edwin Kostelecky; brothers-in-law, Dave Thompson and Bert Gottsacker.
The lessons she taught, the things she stood for, they were her gifts and her legacy.