Rhoda Lee (Kottler) Gralnick, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, December 30, 2020, leaving behind her husband of 60 years, Herbert, children Michelle, Leslie and Marshall, and granddaughter Hannah. 

Rhoda Lee Gralnick

Rhoda Lee Gralnick

A graduate of University City High School (after transferring from Soldan) Rhoda obtained her BFA from Washington University in St. Louis where she met her “Prince Charming”, Herb, also an art student; he was her escort when she was voted Queen of the Beaux Arts Ball, and the two were married in 1960. 

Rhoda was an accomplished illustrator and portrait artist who began her career hand-drawing advertisements for Brown Shoe Company, Famous Barr, and Stix, Baer & Fuller.  During the early 1970s she illustrated an ad campaign for denim leisure suits (!) for Saks Fifth Avenue in White Plains, NY, which then led to her silkscreen prints and animal planters being mass produced and sold at the store.   

She taught art classes from home while raising her three children, obtaining a K-12 teaching certificate which then led to her career as an art teacher.  She touched the lives of thousands of students whom she taught at Jackson Park Elementary School, Brittany Woods Middle School, Hanley Junior High, Fairview Elementary School and Jennings Junior High, before retiring in 2000. 

In addition to personally contributing to the University City art community and developing programs for the School District of University City, Rhoda was active in the Missouri NEA and served as its President. During her tenure she successfully changed Jennings School District policies to accommodate Jewish holidays and make buildings accessible to those with physical limitations. 

Rhoda was known for being warm, caring, loving and loyal but also had a quiet courage that allowed her to remain active and involved while living with Multiple Sclerosis for four decades, successfully overcoming breast cancer, and recovering from a stroke. 

She is preceded in death by her parents, David Kottler, who immigrated to the USA from Berdichev, and Sara Ruth (Katz) Kottler, a first generation American, and survived by older sister, Anita Sandra “Sandy” Hoffman, younger brother Archer “Arch” Jay Kottler, nieces, nephews and cousins.   

The family invites those who wish to share special memories of Rhoda to email stories and photos to curator@hgralnickstudios.com.    

Donations in Rhoda’s merit may be made to the John L Trotter MS Center at Washington University, Jewish Family Services, the Saint Louis Art Museum, or a charity of one’s choosing. 

The family extends their deepest thanks to all the doctors, nurses, care givers, relatives and friends who cared for and about Rhoda during her lifetime. Please visit bergermemorialchapel.com for more information. BERGER MEMORIAL SERVICE