Long before she was known as Deco Guru, Rhonda was known as “Coach” – that’s because she had a career teaching high school Health and coaching girls’ volleyball, track & field and gymnastics. Those teaching days were in Roseville, Minnesota, and her first year of coaching was the first year of Title IX (elevating women’s athletics to the level of men’s). Rhonda became one of the pioneers in the enforcement of the new law. Being paid less than her male coaching counterparts, she filed a grievance, which, after multiple delays, succeeded in her getting equal pay.
Given her coaching credentials, we wondered if she’d been an athlete at the University of South Dakota, where she earned her degree. (After all, she looks like she still might leap onto a balance beam and do a few walkovers.) But, no, not gymnastics; she was on the rifle team, and became one of the first women to receive a letter in shooting at USD. That happened only because she took a pistol class and her instructor was so impressed that he asked if she’d ever competed. She hadn’t, but ended up on the team and even considered trying out for the Olympics… then she got married instead and followed her husband to Minnesota.
They had a daughter (who now lives in Iowa on a farm, raises show pigs and works for the Iowa Pork Board.)
Rhonda eventually retired, and she lost her husband to cancer, so she seized the chance to explore, hitching up her 22’ travel trailer, often rendezvousing with a group with the charming name “Sisters on the Fly.”