School 20

Rhonda Joy (Wancenried) Cousins

December 18, 1953 ~ July 20, 2020 (age 66)


In Loving Memory of

Rhonda Joy Cousins

Rhonda Cousins comfortably and peacefully passed away on Monday, July 20, 2020 in Golden Valley, MN.  A kind and compassionate soul, Rhonda, was always there to help whether it was 4-H, Girl Scouts, or a church event you would most likely find Rhonda behind the scenes.  Rhonda was born on December 18, 1953 in Slayton, Minnesota to Ernest and Myrtle Jens Wancenried.  She grew up on the family farm and graduated from Slayton High School in 1972.  She then attended Southwest Minnesota State College in Marshall.  On August 2, 1980 she and Michael Cousins were married at Faith Lutheran Church in Avoca, MN.  Following their marriage they made their home in Winner, SD where Rhonda worked at the Winner Public Elementary School. Rhonda dedicated her life to teaching everyone who met her knew teaching was her true calling.  She was one of those teachers who make learning fun, she didn’t teach for test, she taught for the sparkle in the child’s eye.  Family always joked that Rhonda was the original Pinterest because her ideas were always so amazing!  The friendships she made through teaching and the community were a true testament of her character.  She was the glue that held many together.  She was an amazing mother, grandmother, sister and friend to many.  Throughout her life she doted on her children and their friends.  She was a troop leader, 4-H leader, volunteered for many community organizations, and had true civic pride.  Anyone who visited her home would likely find Rhonda with her nose in a book or recovering from a prank played by one of her family members.  You could tell she had a love for children because she was always (usually) a good sport.  In 2011 Rhonda retired from teaching and returned to the family farm in Avoca.  Retirement didn’t stop her from keeping busy!  She was a member of Faith Lutheran Church in Avoca and was active in the Altar Guild, Sunday school teacher, reader and ladies group.  Following Faith Lutheran Church closing she joined Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Dovray, MN.  Rhonda was a TOPS Club leader.  She met many of her dearest friends in the TOPS group.  Rhonda volunteered many hours at the Slayton library and at West Elementary School.  She enjoyed spending time with her family, reading, and her dog, Stella, and cat, Taffy.  Rhonda also reunited with her college sweetheart and true love, Don Larson and spent many happy years making up for lost time.  They enjoyed going to the casino, dining out, going for drives and spending time together.  Her life was full of laughter, love and friendship.

Survivors include her two daughters and their children, Summer and Eric Picha and their children, Oliver, Westin and Addison of Golden Valley, MN, and Amy Jo Clemens and her fiancé, Jeremy Jimenez and their children Jameson, Samuel and, Kaylin of St. Cloud, MN, four sisters, Rosanne Wancenried of Avoca, MN, Laura Wancenried of St. Cloud, MN, Colleen Wancenried of Hopkins, MN and Juanita Oeltjenbruns of Currie, MN, special friend, Don Larson, and several nieces and nephews and their families.  She is preceded in death by her parents, Mike Cousins, grandson, Billy Rebel Chapman and an infant brother.

A private graveside service was held at the Faith Lutheran Cemetery in Avoca, MN at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 25, 2020 with Rev. Chuck Swanson officiating.  Memorials may be directed to the Slayton Public Library or to the Ronald McDonald House. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Rhonda Joy (Wancenried) Cousins, please visit our floral store.


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