Rhoda M. Cummings
Birth date: March 8, 1948
Death date: April 1, 2012
Rhoda M. Cummings, 64, died peacefully in her Iowa City home on April 1st, 2012. She was surrounded by family and friends.
She was born on March 8th, 1948 in Taunton, MA to Arthur and Marion (nee Wheeler) Willey. From the age of six, Rhoda lived on a dairy farm in South Londonderry, VT. She graduated from Chester High School and Northampton Junior College. She began working for UMass-Amherst in 1968, rising from the secretarial pool to become Director of Administrative Services of the School of Management, a post she held from 1978 to 1993. While at UMass, Rhoda earned her B.B.A. in accounting with honors (Beta Gamma Sigma). In 1993, she moved to Iowa City, IA, to begin a career at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business. She served as Director of Financial Operations from 1998 until 2012 and earned a reputation as a strong leader within Tippie and across the University.
Rhoda and her husband Tom were blessed with a wonderful life together. They were truly soul mates and best friends. Together for more than 20 years, Rhoda and Tom recently celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary. They were married in Rhoda’s childhood church in Londonderry, VT.
Rhoda was an avid reader and raving fan of the Iowa City Public Library. She was a regular at performing arts venues such as Hancher and the Paramount. She enjoyed visiting museums here and in the capitals of Europe. She and her husband Tom spent their first few years in Iowa scouring the countryside for Depression glass and other antique treasures. Despite the changeable Iowa weather, Rhoda and Tom spent almost every evening walking around their neighborhood, sharing the details of their days with each other. For several years, she and her husband spent their summer vacations hiking in the Green Mountains. With each day, their love and appreciation for each other grew. Their love will last for eternity.
She is survived by her beloved husband Thomas Gruca; father Arthur Willey; brother Kirk Willey and his wife Nina; niece Allison Sardo and her husband Frank; nephew Todd Willey; her “adopted” family Kate, Annie, Molly and Leah Wright; mother-in-law Mary Rita Olivares and her husband Blas; father-in-law Stanley Gruca and his wife Jacquelynn; sister-in-law Kathleen Bird and her husband Daniel; and brothers-in-law James Gruca, and William Gruca and his wife Diana. Rhoda was preceded in death by her mother.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to The Rhoda M. Cummings Memorial Fund in care of The University of Iowa Foundation, 1 W Park Road, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.
Visitation will be held from 4-8 pm on Wednesday at Lensing Funeral Home, 605 Kirkwood Avenue, Iowa City.
Funeral Services will be held at 10 am Thursday, April 5th at the Congregational United Church of Christ in Iowa City.
Burial will follow at Oakland Cemetery.