Cover photo for Judy A. Howard Rhode's Obituary
Judy A. Howard Rhode Profile Photo

Judy A. Howard Rhode

September 8, 1931 — October 9, 2022

Judy A. Howard Rhode

Judy Ann Blicke Howard Rhode, 91, of Bucyrus, died October 9, 2022 at the OSU Medical Center in Columbus following a short period of declining health.

Judy was born in Bucyrus on September 8, 1931 to Juilliard Hall and Evalyn Quay Blicke. Growing up, she was known to be a hardworking tomboy, having held jobs as a janitor and filling station attendant in her youth. She also worked on a dude ranch in Colorado.

In her years at The Ohio State University, Judy was known for her incredible golfing talent. She played on two different Women’s Intercollegiate Championship teams and received a varsity letter later in life for her efforts. She continued her golfing career as an amateur on the LGPA Tour, and was the Bucyrus Country Club champion for 25 years. In 1954, she became the first woman to graduate with a finance degree from the university’s Fisher School of Business, but then decided that her interests had changed. After more schooling, she then began a long and storied career in her true passion: education and administration.

Judy became an innovator in special education, advocating for mainstreaming of her special ed students and helping them to learn in creative and impactful ways. In later years, many of her students returned to thank her for the impact she had on their lives.

She soon became a Special Education Supervisor for Crawford County Schools before later becoming its assistant, and then primary Superintendent. She concurrently served on the board of the Bucyrus City Schools from 1970-1996. Never one to back down from a challenge, she expanded this role by helping to start the Federal Relations Network of the National School Boards, working with Congressmen Tennyson Guyer and Mike Oxley to help gain federal funding for education. Additionally, she spent time as the President of the Ohio School Boards Association and was known for her dedication to the role.

Thanks to her good friend Dr. Robert Solt, Judy met Paul Howard, whom she married in 1954. Judy and Paul spent many wonderful years together with their three children and dachshunds until his passing in 1992. In 1999, she married an old acquaintance, Jim Rhode, and had an incredible life traveling all over the world with him until his passing in 2012. She gained a wonderful second family of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren whom she dearly loved.

In her free moments, Judy was known to love spending time with family at her Canadian cottage on Lake Wah Wash Kesh, as well as in Delray Beach, Florida. Sitting back to relax was never her strong suit at the cottage: she always kept busy fishing, tractoring, or tinkering in her workshop. She continued to spend time at her two favorite places up until her final years; she famously asked, upon receiving her new pacemaker, if she would still be able to use her chainsaw to maintain the cottage grounds. She held her friends from Canada and Florida close to her heart, and considered them to be extended family.

Judy was an active member of First Presbyterian Church of Bucyrus, as well as a proud third generation Rotarian. Cooking was another hobby of hers. She was known for her decadent ham balls, one-of-a-kind butterscotch pie, and her delicious breakfast rolls which she baked for friends and family every Christmas season.

Judy was preceded in death by her husbands Paul Howard and Jim Rhode, brother Bill, son-in-law Harmon Guss, niece Robin Jolly, and her parents. She is survived by sister Mary Lou (Scott) Hastings, children Julie Guss, Jeff (Katie) Howard, and Amy (Steve) King; stepchildren Timothy (Eva) Rhode, Jean Cole and Tracey (Cary) Roy; grandchildren Michelle (Chad) Newton, Kara (Ben) VonBlon, Kristin (Tunde) Guss-Ayeni, Tim Howard, Lynn (Mike) Dana, Sarah Gobble, Alex King, and Zach King; as well as her step-grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and numerous other family and friends whom she kept close all through her life.

All services will be held at First Presbyterian Church, Bucyrus on Saturday, October 15. Family will receive friends from 10 am – 12:20 pm and the funeral will begin at 12:30pm with Pastor Jeremy McNeill officiating. She will be laid to rest privately in Oakwood Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be given to First Presbyterian Church or a charity of your choice which supports education. Memories and photos can be shared on Judy’s Tribute Wall.

Judy often told her family that she did not want anyone to shed a tear once she passed away. However, with apologies to Judy, she will be celebrated with stories, laughter, and most likely our tears, for a life such as hers will be deeply missed. Whether she was known by mom, Nana, Nana Great, Jude, or just Judy, she was loved by all.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Judy A. Howard Rhode, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Saturday, October 15, 2022

10:00am - 12:20 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Starts at 12:30 pm (Eastern time)


Click to watch

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Photo Gallery

Visits: 18

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree