Rhonda Rae Ficke, passed away at the age of 68 years, on Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 23, 2023, at Madonna Long Term Care, after a short battle with cancer. Rhonda was born Aug. 5, 1955, to Kenneth and Beverly (Vaverka) Ficke in Lincoln.
Rhonda was baptized in 1955 and confirmed in 1969 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Pleasant Dale, where she was a lifelong member. She attended elementary school at Pleasant Dale, and high school at Milford, where she graduated in 1973.
During high school, Rhonda was honored to be a member of the All-American Choral Group that toured Europe upon her graduation. Later in life, she would travel to Kethen, Germany, twice, where she visited Ficke family relatives. She always said what a privilege it was and how much she loved visiting the “original Ficke farm.”
Rhonda was a consummate caregiver throughout her life to countless people and a devoted volunteer. Her passion for agriculture, livestock and all animals was formed in her childhood on the farm and ranch and as a 4-H member. This experience made her a natural fit as a 4-H leader for numerous years, positively impacting a host of youth from the Pleasant Dale area. Rhonda absolutely loved the outdoors and had a disdain for housework. She was truly her father, Kenneth’s, “right hand man” and would eventually be a lifelong partner in Ficke Cattle Company.
Bryan Hospital in Lincoln was lucky to have Rhonda’s professionalism throughout her career. After graduating from the Lincoln School of Commerce, with an administrative assistant degree in 1974, she interviewed with Bryan knowing she had no experience – yet. During the interview, Rhonda said they told her they would give her a “short trial period” to see how it went. She in-turn told them, “I will give you a trial period as well.” The trial period turned into a life of service at Bryan.
Rhonda met Joe May in a Multiple Sclerosis support group in Lincoln in the late 1990s. They had a strong and caring relationship for 26 years. The past nine years, Rhonda was a devoted caregiver for Joe at Madonna Long-term Care, where the Madonna family truly became her extended family. She loved, took care of and was an advocate for other patients and their families, baking countless goodies (famous Scotcheroos) and offering a genuine, listening ear to so many. Her baking cannot be understated and her Ficke and Madonna family will be talking about her famous recipes for years to come. Rhonda’s recipes reached many Ficke Cattle Company events, the city mission, shut-ins, nursing homes and neighbors galore.
Rhonda’s generosity was endless and her love for others poured out for countless people. She and Joe May shared a love for collecting angels and they both wore a matching angel pin for years. Now the family’s generous and caring angel is in Heaven.
Rhonda was preceded in death by her father, Kenneth; grandparents, and special great Aunt Edna Thomas, who was like a grandmother to the entire family and who spent a lot of time with Rhonda. Rhonda is survived by her mother, Beverly Ficke; lifelong love Joe May; siblings, Janet (Ernie) Krenk, Jolene (Joe) Zochol, and Del (Brenda) Ficke; nephews, Ryan (Jamie) Krenk, Matt Krenk, Zach (friend Sabrina) Zochol, Austin (Alyssa) Ficke; nieces, Andreea (Jeff) Baker and Emily Ficke; great-nieces, Calyn and Gentrie Krenk, and Attley, Hayden and Olivia Ficke; great-nephews, Cayden and Graham Baker and Kenneth (K.C.) Ficke. She is also survived by loving members of the May family, too numerous to name.
Visitation is Wednesday, Nov. 29, from 1 – 7:30 p.m. at Zabka-Perdue Funeral Home in Seward with family receiving friends from 5 – 7 p.m. A Celebration of Life will be Thursday, Nov. 30, at 11 a.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Pleasant Dale. The family requests that everyone wear casual attire. Graveside services will be at a later date at Pleasant Dale Cemetery.
Memorial contributions are suggested to the Seward County 4-H Foundation, Seward County 4-H Foundation P.O. Box 214; Seward, Neb. 68434, or to the Ficke family.