Carl Thomas Rhoades, 83, of Orwigsburg, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on Thursday, evening, January 25th, at Lehigh Valley Health Network-East, Pottsville.He was attended to by his wife of 53+years at his home, until emergency services arrived.
Carl was born in Pottsville, PA, on October 14, 1934, the youngest sonand 8thof 13 children of the late Maude (Lutz) Rhoades Bright and James Wallace Rhoades. His father was a farmer and an Assistant Mine Foreman (11 years), after having been a Miner (5 years) and general mining work (8 years).At one point he was reportedly placing the dynamite chargesin the coal mines.His father died (42 years of age) ofAcute Bronchopneumonia due to advanced anthrosilocosis in 1945 when Carl was 11 years old. Carl was supportedby his older and younger siblings, as his mother was widowed at the young age of 41. His mother worked in the local garment industryand also took care of the farm with the assist of the children and baking pies for the Smith Country Inn. She eventually remarried and retired with her second husband to the Chester Springs area. She died in 1984.
Carl was a graduate of Cressona High School, Class of 1952. He graduated from Thaddeus Steven's Trade School, Lancaster, PA, in 1955 as an Industrial Electrician, which at that time provided his education due to the loss of his father at an early age and financial hardship of the family.
He served in the U.S. Army, nicknamed “Dusty”,from November 1957 to October 1963.He was in the US Army Security Agency out of Menwith Hill, near Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England from 1958 until his return stateside in August 1960.The Army had only begun to lease this base in 1954. He spent his remaining Army Reserve time based out of Fort Dix, NJ.
He was the husband and sweetheart of Nita Louise (Zimmerman) Rhoades having met when she was 16. They married August 29th, 1964, after he had completed his service in the Army and she had graduated from Susquehanna University, majoring in Music. He was devoted to her his entire life. They each enjoyed one another’s company and exchanged MANY love letters during his time overseas in the Army in Britain. He took her on a pre-retirement trip to Britain for 2 months in the summer of 1998, which included a complete tour of all 4 of the UK countries. They celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary, his 80th Birthday, and Nita’s 74th Birthday in November 2014 with a dinner and party with their entire family.
Upon return to the United States, he worked as an Industrial Electrician for ARA Vending Company, Reading, PA, for 30 years beginning in 1961. The latter part of his work years at ARA, he covered primarily maintenance and filling of the hot and cold food machines at Dana. He retired in 1991 and then worked part time as an assistant in the Service Department of the County Chrysler Dealership in Hamburg. He also did Television Repair Work upon return to the states.
Carl’s community service and memberships included: Orwigsburg Lions Club, Orwigsburg VFW, 2nd Mountain Rod & Gun Club, Deer Lake & West Brunswick Fire Company, Hamburg Game Association, Hamburg Moose, American Legion Home Assn Fredericksburg, and Lyons Fire Company No. 1. His most memorable role was in serving as the Chief Umpire for Orwigsburg Little League for many years while his son played baseball in the 1970’s.He was a former member of St. John's United Church of Christ, Orwigsburg
He was an avid Saturday golfer with a close knit group of friends which served as his relaxation from his weeklywork routine, which encompassed usually a 10-12 hour work day along with a 2 hour round trip commute to Berks County. He shared this love with his mother Maude, who growing up worked as a caddy at a local golf club in the Hazelton area before the family moved to Palo Alto and McKeansburg areas. He achieved his golfing career Hole-In-Oneduring retirement in 1997 at the Blue Mountain View Golf Course on the 16th hole! He also regularly played in the Schuylkill County TAP (Amateur Pool League) in the 1980’s, teaching his nephew Tom and children to play pool.
In addition, he was an avid Sunday sports fan and his varied favorites included the Notre Dame football (for which his maternal brother-in-law Geoffrey Zimmerman was a running backfor in the late 1960’s), Philadelphia Phillies & Eagles, Washington Redskins, and Temple University Basketball, the latter especially when his daughter attended Temple and Coach Chaney reigned!
Carl though, at heart, was a staunch and fervent lover of his family. Although he had never had the opportunity to participate in Scouting in his youth, he was deeply loyal, trustworthy, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. He was committed to raising his family and doting on his wife and children, as well as his large and extended family. He was quite close with his older brother Bill and Jim, the former visiting on family vacations to Pittsburgh, Ohio, and Florida over the years. He was particularly helpful in teaching his daughter to drive after work in the depths of winter/February, and was usually available for transport home from after-school activities and weekend trips to and fromcollege in Philadelphia. He was a glorious and happy grandfather to all 4 of his grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. If anyone was in need, Carl was most certainly willing to help in any way he could.
In addition to Nita, his wife of 53 years, he is survived by:
His daughter, Cynthia Ann Rhoades Reidler, husband Ronald, Pine Grove Area.
His Son, Geoffrey D. Rhoades& Lucy Patton, Womelsdorf.
Three Sisters: Alice M. Shoener; Frances R. Daubenspeck, wife of Arnold; Judith A. Raffa, wife of John H Raffa; Brother: John Rhodes; Brother-in-Law: Richard W. Seyfert, Sr.; all in PA; and Sister-In-Law Jean K. Rhoades (Cocoa Beach, Florida).
He is also survived by four Grandchildren: Courtney Alderman, Steven Rhoades, Ron Rhoades, &David Reidler, Nieces & Nephews: Patricia Ann Rhoades Mendizabal& Daniel Rhoades; Cindy, Thomas, & Evelyn Koch, JoAnnKetchledge;John M.& James Raffa;Michael &James Rhoades;CynthiaStrouphauer, Jane Williams, Samantha RhodesMacKenzie, Nancy Johnson;Wallace H. Rhoades II,James H. & Barbara A. Rhoades, Marie ALoreman, BethAnnWalk, Marilyn Yeager Houch; Richard W. Seyfert, Jr, & Susan Kooser.
He was predeceased by his Father and Mother; Stepfather Albert Bright; Brothers: William C., James H., Wallace J., & Robert Rhoades. Sisters: Vida L. Yeager Coolidge, Ellen R. Koch, Ruth R. Seyfert and infant 6 month old sister, Janet P. Rhoades; Sister-In-Laws: Donna S. Rhoades &RetaMoyer Rhodes, Ruth Koch Rhoades, Jean Cano Rhoades; Brother-In-Laws: George E. Koch, Sr. &James G. Shoener,John Coolidge.Nephews: George E. Koch, Jr., Charles J. Koch.
A Celebration of Carl’s Life will be held at 2:30 PM on Saturday, February 10th at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Summer Hill in Auburn, PA, with Rev. Kathleen Ash-Flashner officiating.
Friends are invited to call in the church from 12:00 PM until time of service.
Interment at Indiantown Gap National Cemetery, Annville, PA will be at 2 p.m.on Thursday, June 14th, 2018, Flag Day.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hamilton-Breiner Funeral Home.
Hamilton-Breiner Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Inc., Orwigsburg is honored to have been entrusted with arrangements.
Hamilton-Breiner Funeral Home, Inc.
116 South Liberty street, Orwigsburg PA 17961