Musician, adventurer and sports contributor, Richard Rhodes’ love of life ceased with his passing on August 27 in his 85th year. His brave battle with polycystic kidney disease for 15 years showed his courage in facing life’s challenges with a smile.
He exemplified the graces of kindness, friendship and integrity. His loved ones will continue to honour his legacy.
Richard’s life was filled with exciting and unique experiences. He had a wonderful sense of adventure, and that, along with his musical talents in singing and playing the guitar, led him on travels around the world. Making his way back after a year of travels, his work with Teck Cominco took him to Yellowknife where he met his wife, Irene, in 1966. They were married for 29 years until her passing.
At Teck, Richard worked as an accounts manager and brought his effervescent personality to the workplace as well, making sure everyone was enjoying their jobs while still working hard. Many of those who worked alongside him became close friends whose bonds he cherished.
Richard was a pioneer in sport. He participated in the first and second Canada Winter Games and in the first Arctic Winter games, where he won a gold medal in badminton. Richard enjoyed this experience with wife, Irene, who joined him at the first Canada Winter Games and first Arctic Winter Games as she coached and played in volleyball.
One of Richard’s greatest joys was to give of his time and talents, spending time helping children in athletic and sporting activities. He gave back to the badminton communities in Yellowknife and later Trail by coaching in their youth programs.
After his children had experienced and expressed an interest in their chosen sport, he focused his abilities on coaching and teaching in those directions. He was one of the four founders of the Lower Columbia Girls Softball League. Richard was an inspirational coach, patient teacher and well respected mentor in the softball community for the next 35 years, achieving many levels of success during that time.
The peak of his coaching in girls softball was in 2004. Richard helped coach the U12 Thunder, who earned their way, as the first Canadian team, to the Babe Ruth World Series in Mattoon, Illinois.
Richard was recognized on many occasions for his volunteer efforts including being named BC Community Sport Hero for his dedication to amateur sport as well as District 10 Softball Volunteer of the Year. The Village of Montrose, where he resided for 50 years, showed their appreciation by awarding him a plaque for Community Service in 2004. Being honoured with the Kiwanis Sportsman of the Year Award held significant importance as it was the same award his father Ned Rhodes had been presented with 32 years earlier for his contributions to youth in the West Kootenay area in the sport of tennis. In 2011, Richard was inducted into the Softball BC Hall of Fame for Meritorious Service to the game of softball recognizing his many decades of volunteering and enriching the softball community.
All adventures and journeys must come to a close before a new one starts. When it was time for him to say goodbye it was with dignity and grace. His daughters Shannon (Linda) of Calgary and Erin (Bob) of Minden, Nevada, brothers Larry (Ivana) and Chris (Frances), his 4 grandchildren Ryker, Terek, Aspen and Maëlle as well as friends and family will miss his jokes, laughter, and kind and gentle soul.
May all of you he had the pleasure of meeting along his journey in life, share with others memories of his smile, his sense of humour and his generosity of time and talents.
Donations in his memory can be made to the KBRH (Renal/Dialysis unit). There are not enough words to express how thankful both his family and friends are to the Renal unit staff including nurses, technicians, and doctors for taking such great care of Richard over his 15 years of dialysis treatment. He had a quality of life that allowed him to continue to travel, watch and participate in many milestones of his children and grandchildren, continue to contribute to the community and enjoy his love of life.
You are invited to leave a personal message of condolence.
Dear Shannon & Erin and extended family. We are so very sorry for the loss of your Dad. He had been on my (Lydia's) mind a lot over the Summer and I always wondered how he is doing and tried to find him on FB at one point. We had no idea of his long battle with his Kidney Disease, and for that we are grieved to hear about his health, but it sounds like he flourished regardless of it all these years, which is not surprising to hear at all. I (Lydia) remember meeting your parents and you girls the year you all came up for Yellowknife's 50th Anniversary, and I fell in love with both your parents right off the bat. Bill would often speak of them both so fondly and I had great expectations, of which were more than filled when I met them in person. Your Dad's singing is what stuck in my mind for all these years, and I have (and will) always remember him singing a particular favourite of mine, "The Gypsy Rover". When I think of the song, I always think of him singing it, and when I think of him, I think of the song and I start singing it myself and it gets stuck in my head, sometimes all day. We've been blessed to have known them (even if for only a short while in person for myself). Judging by all his travels, it really does seem fitting to say that he really was "The Gentleman-Gypsy Rover". Our deepest condolences upon your profound loss. Our love being sent out to you all at this time.
Erin and Shannon and Families I am so very sorry to hear of your Dad's passing. To lose your parent is so hard. My memories of your Mom and Dad is when they would come and your Dad would play his guitar and we would have sing song. Favourite was “You are my Sunshine “. Love to all of you. Laurie
So sorry Erin, Shannon and families to hear of the passing of your dad. So many memories with your Mom and dad when they would come with your Grandma (my Auntie Elizabeth) to Peace River to see Grandma Rucka and my Mom and Dad. Love and Prayers to you all.
I am so sorry about your loss. My mom and I had a visit with him about 9 years ago when we were in BC. Your mom and Dad made several trips up to Nampa to visit. Our family sends condolences. Hope we can get in touch in the future. Carey
Shannon, Erin and family……….our condolences to you and your families. So many wonderful memories of your wonderful Dad at work, at the hospital and in our neighborhood. He will be missed by so many. Hugs
Shannon and Erin, I am so sorry for your loss. Your dad was one of the most gentle, kind people I have ever known. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
We knew Richard and Irene in Yellowknife. We have fond memories of work and play at Con Mine. In badminton Richard would spot me 20 points and still win 21 to 20. Diane and Irene played volleyball in the first Artic Winter Games and won Gold. Our meeting Queen Elizabeth was a highlight that we cherished. Condolences to the family. RIP my friend.
Very sorry to hear about your dad, my condolences go out to you and your family.
Shannon, Erin and families..I am so sorry about your Dad…The memories I have of him are soo many, couldn’t have had a better neighbor for over 40 years…He is at peace now, cherish your memories..Debi Sedgwick
It was an honour to know you Richard!! Our deepest condolences to the family. Xxooo
Shannon, Erin and families…I am so so sorry to hear about your dad‘s passing! What a trooper he was dealing with his kidney disease for so many years! Your dad was my favourite ball coach. Kind and loving, always teaching with a gentle hand. I learned so much from him. Winning the softball provincials in 1987 was a highlight for all of us and I can still remember how proud your dad was! Sending you love and comfort at this time. I’m glad to have known him! Oxox Lora
Rest in peace, my friend. What an extraordinary man you were. I was so blessed to have you and Irene as my friends…now you are together again. Sincere condolences Shannon, Erin and your families. Hugs. Jet
We were terribly sorry to hear of Richard's passing. Richard was so enjoyable to run into at work as he always had you smiling. He always called me "normal". Our condolences to all his family.
So sorry to hear of Richard's passing. Our deepest sympathies to his family.