Linda "Cindy" Lee Rhoads
October 25, 1940 – October 16, 2021
Linda Watermann (later known as Cindy Thomas and Cindy Rhoads) was born in Elgin, Illinois on October 25, 1940, the oldest of three children to Wilbert (Bert) and Violet Watermann. Linda was raised in Illinois, Michigan and Tomah, Wisconsin, but the family returned to Elgin, Illinois in time for Linda to finish junior and senior high school. Elgin High School is where Linda got involved with the Big Timber and Kwo-Ne-She dance team--a school club and group that wore Native American costumes and performed “The Song of Hiawatha,” a pageant based on the epic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that features Native American characters. While part of that dance team, Linda met and eventually married Dale Thomas, and also made many life-long friends. She also somehow acquired the nickname ‘Cindy,’ which stuck with her for the rest of her life.
Cindy and Dale resided in Elgin and raised 3 children. Besides being a homemaker and mother, Cindy worked in her parent’s picture frame shop, and also as a waitress, childcare provider, and later as a credit union receptionist. Cindy and Dale eventually divorced, and in 1984, Cindy’s free-spirit took her West. After spending a brief time in Devils Lake, North Dakota, Cindy moved to Beaverton, Oregon, where she met and married Elvin “Dev” Rhoads of Hillsboro. After Dev passed away at a young age, Cindy remained unmarried and continued to reside in Hillsboro for the next 29 years. Cindy’s jobs in Oregon included childcare provider, picture framer, office receptionist, and activity director at various senior living communities. Eventually, due to her progressing Alzheimer’s disease, Cindy moved to Tigard, Oregon, where she passed away peacefully at the age of 80.
During the days of the Hiawatha pageant, Cindy was inducted as an Honorary Member into the Blackfeet Tribe of Montana by Chief Earl Old Person based on her ability to perform Native American sign language. Also, in the 1960s, she performed along with the other Big Timber and Kno-Ne-She dancers during halftime of an Orange Bowl. After the Hiawatha pageant ceased, Cindy continued her love for dance by taking jazz and tap classes, and for many years, she taught children’s tap dance classes. She was very proud of the dance sets she designed and painted for the dance studio, as well as the dance costumes she helped design and sew.
Cindy’s outgoing personality and big smile helped her connect with all of those around her. Her Native American name give to her by the leader was ‘Shining Water,’ which was very fitting for her personality. Her love of art, nature, dogs, wildlife, sewing, dance and photography were in some way intertwined in all of her jobs and activities. She especially connected with the many children for whom she provided childcare or taught to tap dance, as well as the countless residents in the senior living communities where she worked.
Cindy was preceded in death by her father Wilbert L. Watermann in 1976; mother Violet M. Watermann in 2016; first husband Dale F. Thomas in 2021; and second husband Elvin D. Rhoads in 1990. She is survived by her brother Lee (Carol) Watermann of Huntley, Illinois; sister Lory (Pat) Prestidge of Elgin, Illinois; daughter Wendy (Jim) Schmitt of Elmhurst, Illinois; and sons Shawn (Linda) Thomas of Yorkville, Illinois, and Eric (Denise) Thomas of Tigard, Oregon. Also surviving are her grandchildren Kelsey, Tara, Lauren, Jaime, Justin, Brett, Jacquie and Blake; and her great-grandchildren Landon, Lennox, Marleigh, Olivia and Theo.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, December 4, 2021, at 10:00 A.M. at Northwest Christian Church – Tigard Campus, 13405 SW Hall Blvd, Tigard, OR 97223.
Please use the link below for a live-streaming of her Celebration of Life.
Check the website of Young’s Funeral Home in Tigard, Oregon for further information
Celebration of Life
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Northwest Christian Church - Tigard Campus
Linda "Cindy" Lee Rhoads
December 1, 2021
Cindy and I have been friends since 1978. She was like a sister to me, always there to show her love and support I have so many fond memories of the times we spent together. The miles between us didn’t change the bond we had. Sometime our lives would get in the way but we always picked up like we chatted yesterday. My visits out to see her in beautiful Oregon and her visits here were always us making more fond memories. You are missed my friend but in my heart I know we will meet again. May your memory be eternal.
November 29, 2021
While I have not had any contact with Linda (Cindy) for many years, I will always remember her smile. The smile was a mirror of her personality. Our prayers and our sympathy go out to the entire family.
Richard and Susan Funk
November 28, 2021
I am saddened to learn of Cindy’s death. Although I haven’t been in touch with her for many years, we shared some fun times working for Chrisman’s Picture Frame. She always had a wonderful smile on her face. I was amazed at the beautiful bead work she did.
My thoughts go out to her family.