October 30, 1921 - March 21, 2014 SOPER, OKLAHOMA Born October 30, 1921 in Charleston, Arkansas to Charles D. and Bertha Rhoades. In his early years, he moved to Nuyaka, Oklahoma and was raised by his Uncle and Aunt Gordon and Lula Sharp along with his sister Lillian. He became an outstanding basketball player (the team won the Class C Championships in 1939 and 1940 and scored over 100 points in one of the games). He enrolled at East Central State College in Ada, Oklahoma, where he again played basketball. It was reported that even though he was not really tall enough for college basketball, his speed and tenacity earned him a starting spot on the team. After two and a half years at East Central he went to the Army, serving a short tour at Camp Fannin, Texas.He began working parttime at the Ada Evening News as a general reporter and advanced to Sports Editor. Additionally, he was the primary news photographer. He married Wannette Nabors. In 1956 he purchased an interest in the Wewoka Times newspaper and became the editor while retaining his lifelong love for photography. While in Wewoka, he was awarded numerous Associated Press national awards for sports photography. He also gave many a young person their first job.Moving to Oklahoma City in 1963, he joined the staff of the Oklahoma State Electric Cooperatives as editor of the Oklahoma Rural News and public relations. This began his lifelong love of promoting Oklahoma, its products and its people. After leaving the OEC, he became the first Executive Director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission and later the Oklahoma Pork Commission. Charles travelled the world promoting Oklahoma and its resources. Additionally, he hosted trade teams from numerous countries thereby securing a market for Oklahoma Wheat.In the mid-70s he married Willie Mae Nelms of Hugo and he moved to Minnesota to head that state's Wheat Commission. After logging millions of miles promoting wheat and the producing states, he retired to his ranch in Soper, Oklahoma. This new chapter involved raising cattle, which was just another challenge to conquer. Charles was a friend to Presidents, US Senators, Congressmen, Governors as well as heads of state. He never lost his pride in Nuyaka, Wewoka, Oklahoma, and his accomplishments, one of which was being an avid tennis player who delighted in teaching the sport to others. A life of stubborn independence, voracious learning, and an eye for just the right picture through a camera ended March 21, 2014. He is survived by his son David and his spouse Jesslyn, daughter Gail and her spouse Tom Andrews and son Roger and his spouse Suzanne, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The family wishes to thank Sheila and Eric Routen, and caregivers Sharon and Sherri for their tireless care in the past few years. It was with their help that he achieved one of his life goals--living to the end in his home with his dog `Boy'. There will be no service at the present time. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make a donation to The Epilepsy Foundation/Matthew Andrews.
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Published in The Oklahoman on Mar. 27, 2014