01/29/09 — JB RHODES SR.

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Feb. 1, 1926-Jan. 27, 2009

"Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on His gentle breast, there by his love over shaded sweetly my soul shall rest."

A homegoing celebration for the life and legacy of JB Rhodes Sr., 82, funeral service practioner and owner of Rhodes Funeral Home Inc., who gently answered God's call to come into his eternal rest on Tuesday at Fryer Regional Medical Center in Hickory, will be held Friday at 1 p.m. at Bear Creek Headquarters Association on Slocumb St., with pastor David Hammond officiating. He will then be coached to his final resting place in Elmwood Cemetery.

He was born Feb. 1, 1926, in Wayne County to the late Norman Rhodes and Georgia Lewis.

Mr. Rhodes was the founder of Rhodes Funeral Home Inc., which was established in 1951. He was a 1944 graduate of Dillard High School. He was married to the late Mildred Body Rhodes for 57 years. In 1947, Mr. Rhodes recieved his degree of mortuary science from Gupton-Jones in Nashville, Tenn. He began his call to serve the community from his home at 906 N. Center St., Goldsboro. What seemed like a dream to some, was a vision that would revolutionize the funeral industry.

Seeing the need for expansion, Mr. Rhodes moved the funeral home to James Street in 1954. In 1958, he was recognized in JET Magazine as the the nation's youngest undertaker. In an era where to be a black business owner was very rare, JB persevered through the struggle and in 1965, purchased Pentecostal Free Will Baptist Church at 708 S. Slocumb St., RFH's present location.

In 1974, he saw the need to better serve the community by totally renovating the 1950s church he had purchased. His compassion and love for people took him beyond the barriers of Wayne County to open a second funeral home in Warsaw in 1977.

During the course of his funeral career, he established three other funeral homes in Fremont, Mount Olive and Selma. Endearvoring to be a class above all the rest, he became North Carolina's only White and Gold Fleet which brought vast attention to any funeral processional coming down the road and came up with slogan that is known worldwide "We May Doze But Never Close, Call Rhodes." He served on the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association; N.C. Funeral Directors and Morticians Association, N.C. Embalming Association and the Goldsboro City Council.

He leaves precious memories with one daughter, Dr. Camilia Rhodes-Smith (James) of Washington, D.C.; two sons, Jimmy Bernardo Rhodes of Goldsboro, and Norman Rhodes (Yolanda) of Columbia, S.C.; one brother, Emmuel Lewis (Lois) of Goldsboro; one sister, Mary Frances Collins of Goldsboro; grandchildren; the staff of Rhodes Funeral Home; and a host of other loving relatives and friends.

His remains will lie in state today at Rhodes Funeral Home in Warsaw, from 10 to 2 p.m. in Rhodes Funeral Home Chapel in Goldsboro from 3 to 5:30, and an inspirational wake from 7 to 8 at St. Stephens Missionary Bapitst Church.

The cortege will assemble Friday at noon at Rhodes Funeral Home, 708 S. Slocumb St., Goldsboro.

Sympathetic expressions of love may be posted at www.rhodesfuneralhome.net.

Arrangements are being handled by Rhodes Funeral Home, Inc.


Published in Obituaries on January 29, 2009 1:47 PM