Rhoda Belle Zora (Webster) Hardeman

Sunrise: July 15, 1925                                                       Sunset: June 21, 2017


Our dearly loved Rhoda Belle Zora (Webster) Hardeman was born to Polletta Leonard and Brock Webster on July 15, 1925 in Louisville, Kentucky. The eldest of eight children (Loyce McDavid, Jane Webster, Glover Webster, John Webster, Harold Webster, Harriet Richardson, William Webster), Rhoda was the family matriarch and the last living member of her generation.

Rhoda attended Minneapolis Public Schools, and during World War II, worked at the New Brighton Arsenal. After the war, Rhoda married her returning soldier, Hilary Leroy Hardeman, Sr., and from this union borne five children (Saundra, Hilary, Rebecca, John and Keith). The two were married for 61 years, renewing their vows in 1996 on their 50th wedding anniversary. They remained married until his death in 2007.

Rhoda was a stay-at-home mom until her youngest child entered school, at which time she began her sewing career as a seamstress at Zelle Manufacturer. She remained employed at Zelle for many years before moving on to work at Sperry Univac as a Quality Control Inspector until an early retirement in 1991.

Rhoda enjoyed knitting, crocheting, painting, completing 5,000 piece puzzles. Most of all, she enjoyed shopping with her two sisters, Jane and Loyce and sister-in-law Bonnie. In later years she enjoyed shopping with her granddaughters. Rhoda was also an enthusiastic cook and was known to spend hours cooking pancakes (“panacakes”) and her famous potato salad for her family, neighbors and friends. 

She especially loved to prepare Sunday dinners for anyone who wanted to stop by. Always willing to support her family, she became an avid sports fan attending sporting events for various family members. 

Rhoda was lovingly referred to as “a tough cookie” by her late husband. She truly lived up to that description the last three years of her life as she underwent several surgeries with strength and resilience. Through it all, she took pleasure in spending time outdoors with her family, brunch, a good cup of black coffee and an occasional beer.

Rhoda died peacefully in her sleep Wednesday morning, June 21, 2017, just weeks shy of her 92nd birthday. Rhoda is preceded in death by her husband, Hilary Leroy Hardeman, Sr., seven siblings, son Keith E. Hardeman and Grandson Fred (Paco) Lee. She is survived by children Saundra (Billy) Hollie, Hilary L. Hardeman Jr., Rebecca Hardeman, John W. (Sherri) Hardeman III; Sister-in-law Billie Carol Hardeman; three generations of grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends.

While small in stature, Rhoda will be remembered for her strength and steadfast devotion to her family.