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John Otto Rhome Jr.

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John Otto Rhome Jr. Obituary
John Otto Rhome Junior was born in Loch Arbor, N.J., to John Otto Rhome and Ethel Morgan Rhome on Dec. 23, 1915. He passed away on Aug. 28, 2011. Mr. Rhome went down to Princeton University at the age of 16, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1936. He graduated from Harvard Law School (Class of 1939), where he was named to the Harvard Law Review. After teaching at Harvard for one year, he joined the Boston law firm of Hutchins and Wheeler. He also joined the Navy and served as an officer during World War II. Mr. Rhomes life was filled with service to his communities. In Wellesley, Mass., he served on the Planning Board (1954-59), as Town Moderator (1959-62), on the Board of Selectmen (1963-69), and on the Advisory Committee (1970-73), as well as volunteering as a Little League coach in 1960. One of his favorite stories recalled the town dispute over adding fluoride to the town water supply. Many townsfolk believed it was a Russian plot to poison the children of the community! He was a member of the Village Congregational Church of Wellesley where he served as a deacon for many years. He became interested in the Massachusetts Audubon Society and was a lifetime supporter of that organization. He was committed to the development of the Wellfleet Wildlife Sanctuary on Cape Cod, where he summer tented for over 25 years. He became a resident of Sudbury in 1976 and served on the Planning Board (1990-98), as an election officer (2000-07), on the Council on Aging (1998-2003), and the Land Use Priorities Committee (1999-2000). He was involved in the creation of and was the self-appointed head counter of Algonquin Council Den 11, Pack 99 for eight years, an inclusive Scout troop. Early in his career, he chaired the Red Feather Campaign (a United Way forerunner) and received an award for 25 years of service in that organization. He was instrumental in the creation of the Boston Area United Way. Starting out as a trust lawyer, he became involved in family law when divorce fell into the probate court system. Mr. Rhome was listed in The Best Lawyers of America publication. Judges often called on him to serve as guardian ad litem for children caught in difficult child custody cases. As a partner at Hutchins and Wheeler, he served as a trustee of the Godfrey Hyams Trust (now the Hyams Foundation) from 1970 to 1986. He was a member of the Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) from 1985 to 2004, and served on the board of GBLS from the early 1980s through 1985. Mr Rhome was a gentleman lawyer of the old school. He devoted more then 20 percent of his legal time pro bono because it was the right thing to do. He was a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat believing absolutely that it was wrong for the rich to get richer and poor to get poorer. Mr. Rhome was also a 25-plus year member of the Skating Club of Boston, participating yearly in their Ice Chips production in the ice dancing numbers and brought life and joy to the membership in the form of the John Rhome Dinner Dances. As a longtime member of The Longfellow Club in Wayland, he was known in the tennis game (at 86 years old) for his wicked spin on the ball. He was an active member of the Sudbury Senior Strutters where he danced and sang across the stage of many productions. His impersonation of Elvis singing Blue Suede Shoes always brought down the house. He loved music and dancing, from Glen Miller to rock and roll to tap, taking lessons in tap dancing in his 70s. He loved birds, to boat, to fish, sport cars, ski, his dogs (especially his Saint Bernards), and life! He was a good man, one of the last true bon vivants! said Henry Comstock, Esq., of Sullivan and Worcester. Mr. Rhome was predeceased by his parents of Interlaken, N.J., his sister Gwenyth Rhome of Wellesley, Mass., and his son Peter Fairman Rhome of Sudbury, Mass. He is survived by his wife Judith Fairman Rhome of Sudbury; son John Otto Rhome; daughters Gwenyth Rhome Russo, and Crandy Rhome Wheeler and husband William; stepchildren Autumn Westhoven and husband James, Heather Kutz and husband Mark, and Sumner Cathcart and wife Janet. He grandfathered 12 children and became known as Grandfather the Great in 1994! The family will be celebrating Mr. Rhomes life in New Jersey. In memory of John Rhome, contributions may be sent to the Michael Carter Lisnow Respite Center, 112 Main Street, Hopkinton MA 01748, for restoration of the media/computer center, which was flooded during Tropical Storm Irene.

Published in The Wellesley Townsman from Sept. 8 to Sept. 15, 2011
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