Sen. James J. Rhoades

October 18, 2008

Sen. James J. Rhoades, 66, loving husband, father and grandfather "Papa", of 1000 E. Centre St., Mahanoy City, died Saturday as a result of an automobile accident at Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown, Lehigh County.

Born in Waterbury, Conn., Dec. 5, 1941, he was a son of the late Earl and Stella Krankowski Rhoades.

He was a seven-term state senator, 29th District, Northeastern Pennsylvania. He also served as chairman of the Education Committee and was a member of the Appropriations, Transportation, Law and Justice, Environmental Resources and Energy committees.

A graduate of Mahanoy City High School class of 1959, he received a bachelor's degree from East Stroudsburg University in 1964, a master's degree in education from Lehigh University in 1966 and did graduate studies at Lehigh University, Bloomsburg University, East Stroudsburg University and Penn State University (doctoral program).

Sen. Rhoades was a former teacher/coach at Pottsville and Mahanoy City schools, and a former principal of Mahanoy Area Junior High School.

He was a member of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Church, Mahanoy City, and served as Eucharistic minister and lector.

He was a member of the Lions Club, TPA Post "Q", BPOE 695 and Humane Fire Company, all of Mahanoy City; Schuylkill County Sportsmans Association, Phi Delta Kappa, Schuylkill County Chapter National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame, Jerry Wolman Chapter Sports Hall of Fame, National Rifle Association and Ancient Order of Hibernians in America Inc.

Surviving are his wife, Mary Edith Holland Rhoades; a daughter: Alisa Rhoades Hobbs, wife of Christopher Hobbs, Esq., Pottsville; two sons, James J. Rhoades Jr., husband of Colleen, Mahanoy City, and Michael D. Rhoades, husband of Jodie, Ashland, Va.; a sister, Candice, wife of Matthew Kester, Mahanoy City; a stepsister, Lois VanHorn, Mahanoy City; seven grandchildren, Meredith Rose, Logan Patrick, Porter Jane, John "Jack" Harold, Caroline Rhoades Hobbs, Chase James and Christopher Frederick; several cousins, nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by a stepsister, Eileen Richards.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday at Mahanoy Area High School auditorium, Mahanoy City, with Bishop Kevin Rhoades as the celebrant. Interment will be private at the convenience of the family. Friends may call from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday at Mahanoy Area High School auditorium. In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer donations to the James J. & Mary Edith Rhoades Charitable Foundation for future Educational Scholarships, c/o M&T Bank, Mahanoy City, PA 17948. Franklin R. Fetter and James P. Haughney Funeral Directors have charge of funeral arrangements.

Published in Republican & Herald on Oct. 21, 2008