The Gabriels Funeral Chapel and Crematory - Georgetown
393 North IH-35 P.O. Box 1727, (78627)
Georgetown, TX 78628
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1921 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Fern Rhodes STRIETELMEIER Obituary

Fern Rhodes Strietelmeier, 93, of Georgetown, passed away on Tuesday, February 25, 2014. Visitation will be held on Friday, February 28, 2013 from 6:00PM to 8:00PM at The Gabriels Funeral Chapel, 393 North IH 35, Georgetown, TX.

A service celebrating Fern's life will be held on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 10AM at The Gabriels Funeral Chapel. Interment to follow at IOOF Cemetery in Georgetown, TX. Fern Rhodes Strietelmeier was born on January 10, 1921 in Rosenberg, TX, and left this life on Feb. 25, 2014 in Georgetown. She spent her childhood in many towns throughout south Texas, following her father's jobs in the early TX oil industry. She was the Valedictorian of Bay City High School's senior class in 1938. Fern had plans to major in Home Economics Ed. at Sam Houston State in Huntsville, but soon realized God had a different plan for her.

On August 7, 1939, Fern married Dean Rhodes, an aspiring young preacher in Churches of Christ. Instead of teaching Home Ec. she became the home economist and homemaker as they would go on to work in many congregations in Texas, including Liberty Hill, Florence, Bishop, Eden, and finally in Austin. In addition, Dean and Fern did mission work for brief periods in the Panama Canal Zone and in Saskatchewan, Canada.

In May, 1965, the Rhodes' moved to the house they built south of Georgetown, which would become Fern's beloved home for the next 48 years. Dean preceded Fern in death in 1987 after a protracted battle with Parkinson's Disease, which forced a very early retirement. In 2001, Fern was able to find love again, and was warmly welcomed into a wonderful family when she married Melvin Strietelmeier on April 6, 2002. They enjoyed a great number of happy years together, making a number of wonderful trips. They enjoyed pursuing their common faith together, and kept busy with all the goings-on of kids and grandkids in their blended family.

Fern was much more than just a homemaker all those years. She was a gifted seamstress and quilter, an excellent cook, and very talented artist of too many oil paintings to count now, spread out in homes across Texas and several other states. She was long-time caregiver to her first husband, and later to her aged mother, as well as raising almost single-handedly her grandson as if he were her own, when tragedy took her only child and son-in-law. She loved people and was always giving to, serving, and doing for others out of her loyalty to Christ, whom she made her Lord in her late teens. She had been a very dedicated member of the Georgetown Church of Christ since 1965.

Besides Dean, Fern was preceded in death by her daughter and son-in-law, Karen and Joe Keyes, as well as her only brother, Lewis J. Schmersahl Jr. of Bay City. She is survived by her husband Melvin of Georgetown, grandson Joe Keyes and wife Kathy of Salado. Stepchildren Janet Sawyer and husband C.W. of Fairfield, CA, Fred Strietelmeier and wife Sondra of Round Rock. Also surviving are two great grandchildren: Karen and Jonathan Keyes of Salado, as well as three step-grandchildren: Holly Sawyer of Portland, OR, Sonja Fritz and husband Aaron of Conway, AR, and Zach Strietelmeier of Round Rock. Also remaining is the newest member of the family, step great granddaughter Vivian Fritz, who turned one the day of Fern's death. Also, there are a host of nieces and nephews surviving from both the Rhodes and Schmersahl families.

Memorials may be made to the Salado Church of Christ, marked for the building fund.

Personal words of comfort may be sent to the family online at www.gabrielsfuneral.com.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Feb. 28 to Mar. 1, 2014
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