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Rhoda Sigrid Greenwood Gilbertson

1925 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Rhoda Sigrid Greenwood Gilbertson Obituary
Rhoda Sigrid Greenwood Gilbertson
June 13, 1925 - July 12, 2014
Longtime Alameda County Resident
Rhoda will be remembered by many as a person who loved humor as much as the many relationships she maintained for up to 80 years. She loved banter, and you could always count on her to make you laugh.
She was preceded in death by her brothers Steven and Carver, and by her long-time companion Ray Aguiar, a great family friend.
Rhoda is survived by her children Lyn Rainey (Bill), Brad Gilbertson (Anne), and Dru Bagwell, Lyn's sons David Diekmann (Natalie) and Greg Diekmann (Cindy), Dru's children Tayler and Shaefer Bagwell, Brad's daughter Noe-Marie Murphy, and two great-grandchildren, Cody Diekmann (David and Natalie), and Cole Murphy-Gilbertson (Noe-Marie).
Rhoda was born in the then-immigrant-enclave of Jamaica Plain, Boston, to Sigrid Johansson Greenwood, a waitress from Sweden, and Clarence Greenwood, a chef. In her early teens, Rhoda worked in a photographic studio as a photofinisher, and then studied at a secretarial school after high school, until the death of her mother in 1943.
Following Sigrid's death, Rhoda moved to Minnesota to live with her aunt Marie Martinson, uncle "Martin," and their four children: Milan, Jean, Bonnie and Gloria. Not all links with her childhood were severed, however; Rhoda has remained in contact with her friend Nana Dominici. During the war, Rhoda and the Martinson girls became great friends; Jean and Rhoda continued to visit actively. Together, even in their eighties, they were quite an adventure in energy and humor!
After a short time, Rhoda moved to Washington to be near her brother, Carver. There, she met a Marine on leave, Henry ("Gil") Gilbertson, Jr., and they married in July, 1944. They followed Gil's job to Montana, and, in the 1950's, to California, to Downey and La Mirada. There, the family grew with the additions of Brad and Dru. Rhoda taught Sunday school, continuing into the early 1970's. 1962 saw a career move to the Bay Area, first Concord, and then Oakland in 1964, where Rhoda and Gil divorced. Rhoda remained in the family home until 2005, when she moved to San Ramon - no more tiring stairs! - and then to Pleasanton in 2012.
In the 1960's, Rhoda volunteered with the Brownies, Girl Scouts and as a candystriper at the Oak Knoll Naval Hospital Burn Unit. In the early 1970's, Rhoda volunteered with Brad's Sea Scout unit, where she met Ray Aguiar, with whom she was close until his death in 2014. In later years, Ray and Rhoda nursed one another through several medical crises, including Ray's cancer. Ray, whom Tayler and Shaefer knew as "Gramps," was part of every family event until he finally became too ill, in late 2013.
In the late 1970's, Rhoda joined Tupperware, and managed the successful "Rhodadendrons" sales team, and treasured the resulting friendships for decades.
In her 70's, Rhoda joined the Vasa Lodge, a Swedish cultural organization that became a foundation of her life, volunteering many hours to ensure the success of events and monthly meetings. Her lodge friends adopted Ray Aguiar as an "honorary Swede," and came to occupy a unique place in her life. Rhoda's children admired the powerful beneficial influence that each Vasa friend had on Rhoda's quality of life. Her passing came, in fact, as she was preparing to attend a lodge event, still as ready as ever to jump into the middle of the action.
Thanks to all of you from each of us.
A memorial celebration of Rhoda's life will be held at the Hacienda Mobile Home Park clubhouse at 3231 Vineyard Way, Pleasanton, at 1:00 on Saturday, July 19, 2014.


Published in East Bay Times on July 17, 2014
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