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Rhonda Rhea Jokela Annette

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Rhonda Rhea Jokela Annette, 58, of Park Rapids died Thursday, March 12, 2009, in St. Joseph Area Health Services in Park Rapids.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. today at St. John's Lutheran Church in Park Rapids with the Rev. James Neubauer officiating. A visitation was held Monday at the Jones-Pearson Funeral Home in Park Rapids. Burial will be in the Wolf Lake Cemetery.

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Honorary pallbearers will be Greg Bishop, Loni Magnuson, Brett Bishop, Quinn Bishop, Talia Bishop, Luke Jokela, Bridger Jokela, Drew Jokela, Mike DeCarlo, Colson DeCarlo, Logan Veo and Peyton Jokela.

She was born June 15, 1950, to Eddie and Lorraine Jokela in Park Rapids. She began riding horses as a toddler and participated at area youth downhill ski camps. She was a seamstress and musician and majorette in the Park Rapids High School marching band. She was also a football and wrestling cheerleader. She graduated from Park Rapids in 1968. She married John Annette of Ponsford. Their son, David Jay, was born the following year. She and her husband lived and worked in the Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn., areas. She was employed by Northwest Federal Savings and Loan. She dedicated herself to her family, working hard at home and her full-time job until health problems ensued and persisted. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 25 years of age. She helped disabled individuals gain independent living skills and was a strong activist for handicapped accessibility. By 1996, the MS had taken a heavy toll on her health. She relocated to Minnesota to be closer to her family. The disease progressed even more and weakened her to the point that she needed long-term nursing care. She lived at Trevilla in Robbinsdale, Minn., from 1997-2001. She moved to the Heritage Living Center in Park Rapids and has lived there since.

She is survived by her son, Jay of St. Louis Park, Minn.; parents, Eddie and Lorraine Jokela; brothers, Randy (Denese) Jokela and Jon Peter (Deb) Jokela; sister, Jolene (David) Jokela-Veo and Jody (Nick) Jokela-DeCarlo; nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her sister, Roxanne, in 1999.

Memorials contributions can be made to the MS Society in honor of Rhonda, MS Society 200 12th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55415-1255.

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