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December 29, 1946 ~ January 16, 2024 (age 77) 77 Years Old
Pamela Ann (Rheinschmidt) Dodds, 77, of West Burlington, passed away at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16 at Southeast Iowa Regional Hospice House in the presence of her family, and the peace and grace of the Lord.
Pam was a devoted daughter, sister, mother, wife, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Her family is her legacy and the energy that powered her life to the end.
She was born Dec. 29, 1946 to Harry Rheinschmidt and Mary Lee (McKitterick) Rheinschmidt. The family initially lived on North Hill in Burlington before her father moved the family to a farm near Beaverdale where she was raised with two brothers and two sisters. Pam had a special relationship with her grandmother Margaret (Brooks) Rheinschmidt and spent many hours playing with her grandmother, and grandfather Ed Rheinschmidt. Ed was a businessman in West Burlington and served on the West Burlington City Council. Pam graduated from Burlington High School and attended Burlington Community College before having her first son Daniel in 1967. She entered the workforce as a cashier at Giants Food Store in Fareway Center in Burlington.
She married Ronald Raymond Vandenberg in 1968 and had two more children, Charles and John, in 1968 and 1970. Pam and Ron divorced, and then the mother of three went to work at the Central Soya Company and Burlington Basket Co. to provide for her family.
In 1975 she had her fourth son Michael, and the four lived together in West Burlington. She went back to school at Western Illinois University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in science education with a teaching certificate. After a short stint substitute teaching and a year with the Burlington Community School District, she joined the Danville Community School District where she taught physics, biology, and chemistry. She retired from teaching in 2015. In 1989 she married long-time friend Randy Dodds and the two were together until he passed in 2017 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Pam also served on the West Burlington School District Board of Education.
She enjoyed spending time with special friends Mike Sweet, Charlene Lindsay, Cindy Brown and Joyce Mickey. And her favorite thing to do was take her friends and family out for meals, spending holidays together, hosting family vacations at cabins throughout Tennessee and Kentucky, and trying her luck at casinos across the Midwest.
Pam is survived by her four sons: Dan (Karen) Rheinschmidt of Cape Coral, Fla., Charles (Lee) Vandenberg of Fort Madison, John (Susan) Vandenberg of West Burlington, and Mike Vandenberg of West Burlington; two sisters: Carol Myers of West Burlington, and Karen (Millard) Walls, of Kentucky; one brother, Jerry Rheinschmidt of Colorado; seven grandchildren: Branden Rheinschmidt of North Carolina, Heather Rheinschmidt of Florida, Taylor Vandenberg of New York, Natalie Vandenberg, Hayden Vandenberg and Amelia Vandenberg, all of West Burlington, and Hayden Wilson of W. Des Moines; and two great-grandchildren Kyle and Daniel Rheinschmidt of Florida.
She was preceded in death by her parents, one brother Ron Rheinschmidt, and one granddaughter Kelsey Vandenberg.
A visitation will be held at Prugh-Thielen Funeral Home and Crematory in West Burlington from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, January 20. Mom requested a graveside service at her family’s plot in Aspen Grove Cemetery immediately following the visitation.
Memorials can be made to Southeast Iowa Regional Hospice House or the Des Moines County Retired School Personnel Association.