Harvey B. "Dusty" Rhodes
Feb 15, 1918 - Aug 4, 2014
Harvey "Dusty" Rhodes, the founding president of Columbia Community College, passed away peacefully at his home on Phoenix Lake in Sonora, California, after a long and accomplished life. He was 96.
Born to Irene (Canale) and Harry A. Rhodes, he grew up on a family ranch near Tracy, California, and lived with his grandparents during the week in nearby Banta, where he attended elementary school. He graduated from Tracy High School in 1935 and San Jose State in 1940, where he was captain of the baseball team, chairman of social affairs, and earned a degree in biological science. He later received a master's degree from the University of Southern California and a doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley.
Rhodes joined the U.S. Navy in December 1941, days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, and served his country in the South Pacific during World War II. He remained in the Naval Reserves until 1970, during which time he rose to the rank of commander and helped form the Central Valley Naval Reserve unit.
After returning to California following the war, Rhodes began a successful career in education. He worked more than a decade at Modesto High School as a teacher, coach, dean, and vice principal. He later joined the faculty of Modesto Junior College as director of continuing education, and then moved to Tuolumne County as the founding president of Columbia College near Sonora. He retired from his position at the college in 1979.
Upon retirement, Rhodes remained an active member of the community in numerous organizations, including the Sonora Lions Club, Sons in Retirement, Tuolumne County Historical Society, Association of California School Administrators, and Yosemite Natural History Association. He loved the San Francisco Giants, world travel, food and wine, and spending time with his family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his oldest son Gary H. Rhodes, and grandson John Rhodes. He is survived by his beloved wife Patricia Hertert Rhodes, daughter Sandra Rhodes Conti (Richard), son Gregory Rhodes (Sally), six grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren.
Contributions can be made in his memory to the Columbia College Foundation Scholarship Fund, 11600 Columbia College Drive, Sonora, CA 95370. Celebration of life pending.
Published in the Modesto Bee on Aug. 6, 2014