Catherine Rhodes (Handwerk) loving wife, mother, and grandmother peacefully passed away of natural causes on May 15, 2020 at Durango's Hospice of Mercy. She was 67.
Cathy was born on April 8, 1953 in Denver, CO to Beatrice Susan and Wayne Handwerk, and grew up in Denver, CO, with her younger brother, Theadore (Ted) Handwerk. She had an adventurous spirit from birth, and loved to drive sports cars, and obtained her pilot's license at age 16. When 18 years old, Cathy was one of 20 young women introduced at the debutante ball held at the Brown Palace Hotel. She graduated from Cherry Creek High School in 1971. Cathy's fortitude made her ripe for her service as an emergency dispatcher, which started in Glendale, CO. In 1976 she was dating an ill-mannered race car driver but quickly realized that his friend, Parnell Rhodes, was her life-long partner. Parnell's kindness, and endearing nature, won her heart and they were married on September 9th, 1977. They were married for 42 years.
Throughout her career, she worked for Glendale, Golden, and Durango police departments, until she discontinued dispatch to raise her two sons, Carl and Christian, which she homeschooled for portions of their education. An avid gardener, Cathy spent much of her free time digging and planting flowers. She seemed to be able to get anything to grow despite the arid conditions of Southwest Colorado. Cathy was a surrogate mother for many of the friends of her two sons. She sponsored many inner tubing trips at Roadside Park, in Bayfield. When a construction project threatened to turn her beloved park into a wetland she was quite outspoken and attended many town meetings and ensured it did not happen.
She loved history, including her own, and spent much of her time reading. She traced her family's history back to the time of the Vikings and uncovered incredible stories that were akin to her own spirit. Some of the more famous relatives were Harald "Bluetooth" Gormsson, a king of Denmark and the namesake of Bluetooth technology, and Major General Artemas Ward who was one of the original four Major Generals of the Continental Army under General George Washington's Command. Closer to the home she is also related to Colonel Thomas G. Webber, a Civil War hero that fought for the union in many battles including Yorktown, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. Cathy shared their unique pioneering spirit and will be forever missed.
Cathy was preceded in death by her father Wayne, and is survived by her mother Susan Handwerk of Bayfield, CO, brother Ted Handwerk of Durango, CO; her husband, Parnell (Peanuts) Rhodes of Bayfield, CO; her son Lieutenant Commander Carl Rhodes (NOAA); and her son Christian Rhodes, his wife Alison, and their children, Skylar, Sydney, Logan, and Lincoln Rhodes of Bayfield, CO, as well as her many in-law family members.
Her funeral service is scheduled for 2:00 pm on July 11th at Bayfield Cemetery, Pastor Gene Chapin will officiate. All are welcome to attend. In lieu of cut flowers, you may bring live plants to add to her home garden in her memory.
Published in The Durango Herald on Jul. 1, 2020.