Bob Rhoades passed away Friday, March 2, 2018, at Greene County Medical Center in Jefferson. Visitation was held March 6, 2018 at Brown Funeral Home in Jefferson, with an Elks Memorial Service at 6:30 p.m. A memorial service was held Wednesday, March 7 at 10:30 a.m. at Brown Funeral Home with Msgr. Kevin McCoy officiating. Serving as casket bearers were Kirk Setzer, David Dunne, Bill Dunne, Bob Stream, Seth Rhoades and Dwight Rose. Serving as honorary casket bearers were grandchildren: Monica Rhoades, Sarah Casados, Melanie Sheafer, Laura Samnadda, Christian Setzer, Seth Rhoades, Rachael Rhoades, Lynette Ritland Bond and Lindsey Ritland Ante. Interment was at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Jefferson.
Robert Eugene Rhoades was born February 12, 1927, in Fort Dodge, Iowa, son of William Clifford and Martha Kelley Rhoades and grew up in Jefferson with a family of three sisters and one brother.
After graduating from Jefferson High School, he enlisted in the Air Corps and served two and a half years during World War II as a Radiosonde Operator in the 11th Weather Squadron stationed on Shemya Island (part of the Aleutian Islands), gathering data from weather balloons. He served honorably as one of the Greatest Generation.
In 1947, as Bob returned from the military he met the love of his life, Rita Minnihan, on the dance floor at a youth center in Jefferson. They married November 12, 1949, at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Jefferson, beginning their 67 years of marriage. Bob and Rita were blessed with four sons and two daughters. Family tent camping trips with six young children was quite an endeavor, but provided enduring stories and memories. His hard work ethic was admirable as he made many sacrifices to raise a family of six and send them all to college. He was incredibly proud of the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren, enjoying their varied personalities and interests.
Family life encompassed their lives, but Bob also found time for community involvement with the Elks Lodge in Jefferson as a Charter Member, Greene County Community Theater as a set builder and countless remodeling projects for friends and family. He loved music, especially the big band sounds and was known for his excellent bass voice, spontaneously breaking out into song at unexpected times. Dancing was an integral part of Bob and Rita’s social life including Saturday night dances at the Elks Lodge. Under a gruff exterior was a man with a very caring heart who had an affectionate way of finding nicknames for family and friends.
Bob has been a lifelong Jefferson businessman as owner of Rhoades Plumbing & Heating for over 30 years. After retirement he transitioned to his real passion of woodworking. While growing up he was always building things with whatever he could find and dreamed of having his own wood shop some day. Bob and Rita established a furniture refinishing business and he built a woodworking shop in his garage. This provided innumerable hours making intricate wooden décor for family and friends.
One of his greatest joys was the memorable Central Iowa Honor Flight to Washington, DC in August 2010 with his sons. In November 2013 Bob and Rita made their home at The Gardens Assisted Living.
Those who mourn his passing are son, Michael (Mona) Rhoades of The Villages, Fla.; daughter-in-law, Kathy Rhoades of Des Moines; son, Jerry (Kathy) Rhoades of Alameda, Calif.; daughter, Theresa Ritland of Ames; daughter, Linda (Kirk) Setzer of Amana and son; Patrick (Jane) Rhoades of Des Moines; nine grandchildren; four great grandchildren; sister, Peggy Dunne of Jefferson; and brother-in-law, Jerry Minnihan of St. Louis, Mo. Preceding him in death were his wife, Rita; his parents; sisters, Barbara Rose and Helen Joyce Kinsman; brother, Joseph William Rhoades and his son, Joseph L. Rhoades, MD.
Cards or memorials given to honor Bob may be sent to his daughter, Theresa Ritland, 216 North Riverside Drive, Ames, Iowa 50010. The family is supporting scholarships through the Elks National Foundation and the Dr. Joe Rhoades Cancer Compassion Fund.
Brown Funeral Home, Jefferson.