Sunday, September 14, 2003

Rhonda Blalark-Haugabrook was 44


With goal of becoming nurse, she earned degree while caring for grandchildren

By Nicole Hamilton
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo]
Mrs. Blalark-Haugabrook

Graduating with honors last July with a degree from Southern Ohio College meant more to Rhonda Blalark-Haugabrook than just being at the top of her class.

It meant she was finally overcoming a time of hardship, having endured the death of her son two years ago.

Like her sister, Inga Jones Broom, and her mother, who are both nurses, she was pursuing a career in medicine.

"Rhonda always said, no matter how bad things seem in your life you can always turn it around," said her mother, Charlesine Blalark of Evanston.

Rhonda Blalark-Haugabrook died Tuesday after collapsing on her way home from a trip to Indiana. The Westwood resident was 44.

Raised in Evanston, Mrs. Blalark-Haugabrook attended Summit Country Day School. She worked at a Gold Circle store as a customer service manager for several years.

"She was very astute. She mentored her peers in school. And she was very vivacious," said Ms. Broom of Sugarland, Texas. "She was always taking care of me. She was my angel on earth - and now she's my angel in heaven."

When her son, Howard Allen Mundon Jr. died in 2001, she became a caregiver to her two grandchildren, Chasmine and Joel Mundon.

Other survivors include her husband, Fred "Rickey" Haugabrook Jr. of Westwood; a son, Jerrett Wesley Mundon of Evanston; and two brothers, Michael Blalark of Fairfield and Marcus Blalark of North Avondale.

Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. Monday at Southern Baptist Church, Reading Road and Lexington Avenue, Avondale. Service will follow.

Interment will be at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Walnut Hills Cemetery.

Memorials can be made to the American Heart Association, 2936 Vernon Place, Cincinnati, 45219.

Email nhamilton@enquirer.com




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