Tuesday, March 26, 2019
4:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food and refreshments will be served.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center c/o Jefferson Health
125 S. 9th Street, Suite 600
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Make checks payable to Jefferson.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
To know Rhonda Prince-Smith was to know a person who brought a bright spark of light and joy to the world around her. Optimistic and light-hearted, Rhonda modeled a genuine love of all people. A wonderful wife, mother, and daughter, she approached life with passionate energy for living it to its fullest! Born with a sense of adventure, she never took a moment for granted. Incredibly blessed with a beautiful family supporting her every step of the way, there is no doubt that her vivacious personality will be deeply missed. May her rich collection of memories be forever cherished for generations to come.
Rhonda’s story began in 1970, a time that was just as vibrant as she was! Music continued to make a significant impact with the Beatles still on the top of the charts and the nation on the edge of the Disco era. Many groups of Americans continued to fight for expanded social and political rights and successfully lowered the voting age to eighteen. Amidst this exciting time, Ronald and Diana (Taylor) Prince were pleased to announce the birth of their newborn baby girl, Rhonda, on November 26th in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her birth brought much joy and happiness to their loving home.
Growing up in Cincinnati, Rhonda’s childhood was filled with special memories and wonderful opportunities. Active throughout her childhood, Rhonda took piano lessons as young as age four and loved to roller-skate, swim, and create crafts with her mother and grandmother. Later, she fell in love with horseback riding and rode for many area shows. Known for her seamless jumps on horseback, Rhonda’s passion for animals started during these early developing years. She was drawn to many animals, yet she was especially fond of dogs as her family had many pets growing up. Self-motivated and determined, Rhonda’s musical talent led her to play in her high school orchestra. She played the violin, piano, and harp, as well as sang in the choir and was the flag majorette. Her musical gifts were often requested at area weddings and special events, yet Rhonda remained humble and never boasted at having such amazing talent. Anything she put her mind to doing, was met with success! As much as she held an innate skill to be driven and successful, Rhonda also held a fun-loving and humorous side. She loved to play pranks on her family members and there was never a dull moment when she was around!
Graduating from Princeton High School, she set off to follow her dreams of becoming a veterinarian. After one semester at BYU, she transferred to the University of Cincinnati to become a veterinarian technician. Eventually, her hard work and efforts paid off when she graduated from THE Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Rhonda then did a one-year internship at Alameda East Veterinary Hospital, where she appeared several times on Emergency Vets, an Animal Planet TV show. Her first assignment was five years in beautiful Great Falls, Montana where she kicked off her lifelong career!
Not to be forgotten was the meeting of the man of her dreams, Christopher Smith! The two of them were nearly polar-opposites but were the best match for one another. Chris was a big outdoorsman and luckily Rhonda had enjoyed her fair share of camping as a child which aided in their shared love of seeking adventure. Joining in marriage on August 23, 1997, in Cincinnati, Ohio the newlyweds honeymooned along the shoreline in Bar Harbor, Maine. They enjoyed several years building up their strong foundation as a couple before welcoming home their son, Hunter.
Rhonda was never one to pass up an opportunity. By 2005, when Hunter was still a toddler, their young family relocated to Michigan settling in the Kalamazoo area. Olivia came along just a couple of years later and by 2009 Rhonda started her own veterinary hospital in town. Rhonda’s natural charm and positivity helped her to establish a wonderful clientele over the years. They trusted her methods of practice and were drawn to her ability to put their minds at ease when making medical decisions. Juggling her professional career alongside her role as a mother, Rhonda was sure to allow flexibility in her schedule to attend many of their school events. Hunter is an active gymnast and Olivia a talented design artist. As a mother, she wanted nothing more than to share in their successes! As a family, they shared their love of travel and visited Mexico to scuba dive, took skiing trips to Colorado and enjoyed clamming along the Oregon Coast.
About ten years ago, Rhonda’s life changed forever when she caught the running bug! She started off training with the Borgess Run camp for her first half marathon and also joined Kalamazoo Area Runners. She subsequently completed 20 marathons in 19 states, most with her running partner, Brian Schneider. Her goal was to run a marathon in every state. Rhonda had the support of her Weimaraner dogs who ventured out with her regardless of the elements. Her playlist often included Eminem and her positive energy carried her the rest of the way. Built with a small stature (just shy of 5 feet), there was no challenge too “tall” for Rhonda. She approached each and every part of her journey with an incredible as well as inspirational sense of courage and determination.
Diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma in late 2014, Rhonda prepared for battle. She approached each part of her fight with the same sense of bravery she did when it came to competing. She took it one stride at a time. With each and every step, she was fully supported by her loved ones and many special friends. Grateful for their love and strength, she modeled for them a fierce warrior. She never let a single day go by without showing gratitude. Leaning on her strong faith life and the immense love she had for her family, Rhonda left the world in peace. Taken too soon, there is no doubt that those she leaves behind will lean on her wisdom and grace in the years to come. May they always remember the unconditional love she had for them and share the joy she brought into their lives.
Rhonda Prince-Smith, DVM, age 48, of Kalamazoo, Michigan went to Heaven on March 21, 2019, at Rose Arbor Hospice. Rhonda owned and operated Friendship Animal Hospital. Surviving are her loving husband of twenty-one years, Christopher Smith, M.D.; her two children: Hunter and Olivia; her parents: Ron and Diana Prince; a brother, Shane (Maura) Prince and their children: Jessica (Paul), Mikayla (Timothy), Tanner, Hunter, Savannah and Jared; in-laws, Victor and Marjorie Smith, and sister-in-law, Vicki Smith. Cremation will take place. Visit with family and friends where food and refreshments will be served on Tuesday, March 26, 2019, from 4-7 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900 where services will be held Wednesday, March 27, 2019, 11 AM. Please visit Rhonda’s personal web page at www.betzlerfuneralhome.com, archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be directed to Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson to support Uveal Melanoma Program.