Lottie Sophia Rhoads died February 23, 2018, after living well with a long illness. In her dying, she was gracious, grateful, and engaged. Memories of Lottie may be shared at bolesfuneralhome.com.

Community members are invited to join family and friends in a celebration of Lottie’s life Mother’s Day weekend. Lottie’s funeral mass will be Friday, May 11, at 11 AM at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pinehurst, NC, followed by a reception. Her eulogy brunch with stories invited from all attending will be held Saturday, May 12.

Lottie faced death with the unblinking curiosity that served her in good stead throughout her life. In the weeks preceding her death, Lottie told friends, family, and caregivers what her relationships with them meant to her. She planned details of her funeral and her cat’s future. Only in her final days did she wonder aloud, “why dying has to be so hard.” Those accompanying her through her final journey were humbled by her vulnerability and her strength.

Lottie was born November 15, 1929. She raised two daughters with her husband, Francis J. Nitkowksi. He predeceased her, as did daughter Deborah Dantzer. Her second husband, Robert Rhoads, also predeceased her. Lottie is survived by daughter Deni Elliott; grandson Kurt Schachner; and a large circle of friends who felt like family.

Lottie retired from a nursing career in the Washington, D.C. suburbs to Pinehurst in 1988, eager to spend her last chapter gardening, golfing, and playing bridge. Within a month, though, Lottie appeared at Moore County Regional Hospital volunteer services to request a weekly Wednesday morning shift, but only if she could work in the Emergency Department.

Lottie filled in everywhere that her experience permitted: she restocked trauma carts, dashed to the pharmacy or lab, offered a friendly ear for incoming patients and sat patiently and compassionately with families in wait. Lottie was proud of her recognition as Moore County’s Volunteer of the Year in 2006. When double knee replacements — the second at age 82 — made walking difficult, she said that she distracted herself from the pain by counting how many people returned her cheery “Good Morning,” as she went about her duties. By the time she hung up her volunteer smock, Lottie had logged 26 years.

Lottie was a proud member of the elite Silver Foils golfers. She was also active in the Pinehurst Garden Club, Women of Weymouth, Carolina Philharmonic, and innumerable bridge groups. Lottie was a consistent donor and volunteer with her church and for local and national non-profits.

Lottie’s honest interest drew people in. With humor and insight, she perceived the unique nature of every individual.  Her ability to visualize alternative futures was truly life-changing; that’s how caregivers who ministered to her failing body have found themselves on unimagined trajectories. Lottie showed many people the path to their next best selves.

Lottie believed that a lack of funds should not stand in the way of people who had the compassion and ability to excel in care at the bedside. Thus, she will continue to transform lives by helping suitable nursing aide candidates complete their studies. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to the Lottie Rhoads CNA Scholarship at Sandhills Community College, 3395 Airport Rd., Pinehurst, NC, 28374.

Mrs. Rhoads’ family and friends are in our thoughts and prayers at Sandhills Sentinel.

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