Obituaries » William F Rhodes
December 5, 1924 – August 31, 2020
William F. Rhodes
A great truth has been expressed in simple words: “There are no strangers, only friends waiting to be met.” Bill Rhodes has left all who knew him the richer for his life of testimony to that ideal. He has now rejoined his beloved Annie, and many of those friends.
Bill’s childhood and early youth were spent in the Midwest during the Great Depression. He could speak of hardships unimaginable to most Americans living today. Certainly, his belief in the value of independence and productive labor came from that grim experience. At the age of nine, he began to contribute to the family income by taking his first job. He herded a neighbor’s cattle-with a horse to ride! A country boy’s dream come true.
In his late teens he joined up with the Marines to fight in the Pacific during World War 2. From the terrible reality of combat, so different from the appeal of recruiting posters, he drew a life-long abhorrence for the folly of glamorizing war.
After his discharge, he attended college on the G. I. Bill, prudently taking advantage of a splendid opportunity. After graduation, he worked for several years in the private sector, then settled into a long career in government service. He retired from the Environmental Protection Agency, where he worked as an aerial photograph interpreter, in 1982, and the second half of his life began.
The freedom which Bill and Ann enjoyed to travel where and when they chose, was always balanced with commitment to responsibility when they were at home. Their yardful of flowers graced the neighborhood, they planted trees and adopted homeless animals. Their interest in local politics led them to campaign energetically for favored candidates, and they were always helpful to anyone who needed support. Their friendships were for life.
During their camping trips they sought out the works of Nature, rather than those of man. The Smokies, the Rockies, Yosemite and countless other wondrous places, they saw, and cherished, and were grateful. From long before the era of smart phones, Bill’s slides and Ann’s photos are a family treasure.
When Ann’s final illness precluded further journeys, Bill’s remaining decades were spent devotedly caring for her and for the old home place in Garrisonville, which he dearly loved.
Bill is survived by three children, their spouses, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. He will be missed as much as his memory is honored.
Fare on Bill and Annie- Happy Trails!