Melissa J. Rhino (née Thome), age 54, of Woodstock, passed away at home on Nov. 27, 2019, after she bravely fought a long battle with anorexia nervosa.
Melissa Joelene Thome was born Jan. 1, 1965, to Jack and Charlene Thome in Des Plaines, Ill. After Melissa finished grade school, the family moved to Woodstock, where she later became a graduate of Woodstock High School. She has resided in Woodstock for the last 42 years with her husband, Albert (Al) Rhino, and their three children.
While her children were young and in school, Melissa was a stay-at-home mom, with the exception of working as a cleaning lady for a few families over the years. Cleaning, organizing, and straightening were things Melissa was passionate about, and enjoyed being able to provide those simple joys to other families.
Melissa also thoroughly enjoyed working with children, spending many years working and volunteering in the schools within District 200, most recently at Woodstock High School. She took great pride in fulfilling every role, especially in her most recent position as a paraprofessional. Melissa was incredibly grateful for the time spent with staff, teachers, and students in each school and always found time to share the generosity that they had shared with her.
Outside of her work life, Melissa could often be found in her yard and gardens during the summer, and loved to sit down in the sunshine after tending to them with a good mystery novel. She also enjoyed taking her beloved long-haired dachshund, Berkeley, out for walks around the neighborhood or to have him join her outside in the yard over the summer. Melissa spent a few years volunteering at the hospital in Woodstock as well. She was an avid drinker of cappuccinos or coffee, and despite not quite being a senior citizen yet, enjoyed going to Senior Coffee at the Stage Left Café in Woodstock on occasion. Melissa loved to read and was often seen at the public library. Before the strength of her eating disorder took over, Melissa loved to run and despite running over 50 miles on average per week, never wanted to run a full marathon, simply because she “just didn’t feel like it.”
Melissa truly had a way of making others feel special, and that gift will be missed the most by many. She touched many lives over the years through conversation, hugs, and laughter, which in turn, added years to her life. Her family gives many thanks to all those who have reached out over the years while she was in and out of treatment, for their support and for their understanding of the nature of her eating disorder.
Melissa is survived by her husband of 31 years; Albert Rhino, her beloved children; Alex, Nicole, and Lydia; parents Jack and Charlene Thome; brothers Dirk (Heather), Troy (Meghan), Blake (Kara) Thome; her sisters-in-law, Denise Nelson and Debbi (Robin) Lynd; and many nieces and nephews.
Melissa was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, Roland and Eva Preus; her paternal grandparents, Joseph and Helen Thome; and her father and mother-in-law, Albert and Marilyn Rhino.
There will be a memorial service held on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020, at the Free Methodist Church in Woodstock, 934 N. Seminary Ave., starting at 2:30 p.m.