Annette Thérèse Tékla Demal Rhodes
November 25th, 1941 – June 5th, 2020
Annette was born in Bouchoir, in the department of the Somme, France. When she fell in love and married an American GI, she immigrated to the United States to eventually become both Maman and Mémère to a loving family. She went to her rest at home with her family on June 5th, 2020 in Antelope, California. She was preceded by her father Joseph Demal, her mother Olga Orowski Demal, and her brother Yves Demal. She is survived by her husband of 57 years Robert “Dusty” Rhodes, her children Patrick Rhodes (Liane) and Corinne Rhodes Wihl (John) and her grandchildren Matthew and Nicole.
Annette was a 4’11” French lady with a 10’ high personality! She fell in love with Dusty, the 6’ American GI, knowing that a life with him would lead to adventure beyond the small villages of Northern France. You want to know the power of love? Once they were married, they left the comfort of her French homeland to live in a trailer park in Oklahoma with her knowing almost no English. She taught herself by watching the “soaps” she would continue to watch until the end. While in Oklahoma, she gave birth to their first child, a son named Patrick.
For the birth of their second child, a daughter Corinne, she would be alone in France with the children, as her husband Dusty was stationed in the Philippines and was preparing housing for the family. Then, with a 2-year-old in tow and a 9-month-old to carry, she would trek across Europe, the Middle East and Asia on numerous military flights to get all the way to the Philippines. After a little over a year in the Philippines, the family was lucky enough to move back state-side for a brief 18 months in San Bernardino, California.
Their next move brought them to Wiesbaden, Germany. While in Germany, Annette was able to visit her French family often over the next six years. This allowed her children to grow up learning French and to know all of their French relatives. After the six years, the family moved to the northern tip of Maine.
Being in the extremely cold climate of Maine was definitely not one of Annette’s favorite things! So when Dusty had to finish his military service headed for Korea without the family, it was decided that California was where they would put down permanent roots. Within the span of two months, Annette and Dusty purchased a house in North Highlands near McClellan AFB, enrolled the kids in school, Annette learned how to drive, and subsequently got her first driver’s license! She was alone once more with the kids, as Dusty was off to Korea for one year and then Mississippi for three months to finish his military service. Once military life ended, Annette and Dusty bought their dream home in Antelope, CA, where she would spend the next 42 years decorating, gardening and entertaining!
Annette loved flowers and gardening. Springtime was a beautiful place in her backyard! It was so colorful and full of life, just like her. She loved playing bingo and bunco, shopping, but above all…traveling. She and Dusty would travel often in their motorhome to Arizona, Oregon, Utah, Mexico, Canada and all over California. She loved the beach! Many trips took them to Pismo Beach and Seal Beach, where they could sneak in a visit or two with their grandchildren at college in Southern California. She loved to spoil her grandchildren! Her favorite place to visit was Las Vegas, where she and Dusty would travel almost every year in November for her birthday! Staying at the Paris Hotel was always the highlight of her birthday trip!
She was a large piece in the fabric of our lives, and nothing is the same without her laughter, her devotion, and at times, her backhand! We love and miss her so very much.
Annette’s Funeral Mass will be held at Holy Family Catholic Church in Citrus Heights, California, on June 5th, 2021, at 10:00 AM. Reception following the Mass at 2566 Parkcrest Way, Roseville, California 95747. Interment will be held privately with family.
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