Cover photo for Rhonda Vanecek's Obituary
Rhonda Vanecek Profile Photo
1959 Rhonda 2023

Rhonda Vanecek

October 22, 1959 — July 20, 2023


Rhonda Sue was born and raised in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Growing up, she loved taking dancing lessons all through school. She had natural rhythm and talent. She enjoyed acrobatics and was cute, tough and accident prone. She was always getting hurt and bouncing back. She was a cheerleader at both Abrahman Lincoln and Underwood high schools. She graduated from Underwood in 1978 and attended Hastings College on an art scholarship. She was a Broncos cheerleader and on the Fillies dance team. Rhonda was an artist and some of us are fortunate to have some of her beautiful works of art in our homes. After college, she worked at Joslyn Art Museum and at Mutual of Omaha for several years. Seeking a warm climate and more opportunities, Rhonda moved to Las Vegas in 1988 and began a 35-year career in Human Resources. She worked at United Coin Machine Company, which merged a few times and became Bally Technologies, for 23 years as a Senior Benefits Manager. Rhonda was a hard worker and gave 110% at everything she did. She was a great organizer, loved being in the action and was involved in every activity. She was valued and admired. She made many lasting friendships. After leaving Bally she started her own business, “Rhonda to the Rescue Pet Sitting, LLC. She loved this work, but it was not lucrative. She went back to working in Human Resources at Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy, PDS Gaming and most recently at Mayo Health Systems. 


Rhonda enjoyed organizing and participating in the Corporate Challenge every year while at Bally. It was at one of those events that she met Michael Bishop. They dated for a few years and welcomed their baby, Brittney, into the world in 1993.


Rhonda and Brittney had a fast paced, fun filled life together in Las Vegas. They enjoyed all kinds of attractions all around Vegas and seemed to go someplace fun every weekend. They would occasionally make trips back to Iowa and we would all eagerly anticipate their arrival. Rhonda could be the sunshine in the room, unless she was mad, and then everyone suffered, because she gave that 110% too. She could absolutely be a spitfire! Thankfully, most of her visits were full of fun and happy times. Rhonda loved and adored Brittney always, and she was so immensely proud of her. Rhonda also honored extended family ties and enjoyed visiting people at their homes. She loved family gatherings and would talk someone into having a big family picnic. She squeezed everything she possibly could into a long weekend visit. She made time to visit her longtime friends and always made a stop at Josyln Art Museum to see her former co-workers. We are all so thankful that she visited with so many of us in May of this year. People were important to Rhonda. If you made a trip to Vegas, you better plan to visit her because she wanted to see you, and she preferred you to stay with her at her place. Rhonda was very inclusive, warm and welcoming. She is described as a loyal friend who was trustworthy and not judgmental.


In 1988, when Rhonda arrived in Las Vegas, she took a job running cocktails at “Play it Again Sam’s”. She met Kim Korner there and the two of them would be great friends for the rest of their lives. They were both energetic and had an unmatched zest for life and they lived it to the fullest! Las Vegas was the perfect location for them to always find something fun, creative, exciting, and entertaining to do. Sadly, Kim died of cancer in March of 2022 and her loss was heartbreaking for Rhonda.


Rhonda enjoyed baking and would share the delicious treats with her friends and neighbors, and occasionally send a loaf of bread or some cookies back home to her family. She would take her homemade cinnamon rolls to Brittney to share with her co-workers and friends. She enjoyed preparing holiday meals and would often call her parents or sisters to get cooking advice and end up talking for hours. She made delicious meals and would welcome anyone to her table. It didn’t matter if she had plenty or if she was barely getting by. She celebrated and shared what she had. 


Rhonda saw beauty and talent in everything. She loved people of all ages and always saw the best in everyone. She was compassionate and she never met a stranger. Rhonda was a caring and generous person who would give you the shirt off her back, even if it was her last one. She took great pleasure in selecting gifts for people and beautifully wrapping each one.


Rhonda loved animals and supported many causes for helping them. She loved her pet birds, Samu, Chloe, Sammy, Champ and Kenya. Samu was her first bird, he was a cockatiel, and he loved taking showers with Rhonda. He would sing so pretty with the water sprinkling on him. He also loved eating spaghetti noodles which was fun to watch. Rhonda treated her pets like people. She enjoyed having cats and dogs in her family her entire life. She loved them all so much and when they preceded her in death, it brought her great sadness. The most recent was her rescue Doberman, Jett, who had complications from diabetes and had to be put down 4 days before Rhonda went into the hospital. This was a very traumatic experience for Rhonda. 


On July 14, 2023, Rhonda was admitted to the hospital due to cardiac complications and unexpectedly passed away during surgery on July 20, 2023. Many people have reached out to share our grief. We are thankful that so many people love and admire Rhonda as we do. We know heaven has gained an angel. She was such an incredible person!


Rhonda was preceded in death by her stepmother, Betty Rae Vanecek, stepfather, Frederick Crouter, brother-in-law, Dale Hanson, uncles, Larry Beltz and Vernon Lake, and Cousin Samuel King.


Survivors include her daughter, Brittney Vanecek of Las Vegas, parents Charles Vanecek of Council Bluffs, Iowa, Beverly Crouter of Omaha, Nebraska, sisters and one brother-in-law, Glenda Yost of Omaha, Ne, Krystal Hanson of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Lisa Miller (Greg) of Valley, Nebraska. Several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.  We should mention that Kenya, Rhonda’s African Grey parrot, now lives with Brittney and is very happy with her.



A Celebration Of Her Life will be on October 21, 2023 with special remarks to begin at 11:00am followed by visitation until 2:00 p.m at Hoy Kilnoski Funeral Home Community Room.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, October 21, 2023

11:00am - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Hoy Kilnoski Community Room

1221 N 16th St, Council Bluffs, IA 51501

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