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Former Council Candidate Eric Rhodes Dead at 85

Writer and longtime consultant died this past week.

Eric Foster Rhodes, an active member of the New Port Richey community, died  Aug. 24 at the age of 85.

Rhodes was born in the small town of Luray, Va., and was raised in Washington, D.C. He was a professional consultant for decades and assisted colleges, school systems, cities and states. In his retirement, he spent time writing fictional stories.

Rhodes moved to New Port Richey in 1979, but work kept him from living here full-time until the last decade when he retired.

In his retirement, Rhodes self-published his writings, which included mystery novels, short stories, essays and books of poetry.  

He frequently read poetry at events in downtown New Port Richey.

He was on the New Port Richey Land Development Review Board for six years and was also appointed to the city’s police pension board this year. 

Rhodes ran for but didn’t

Rhodes said that he believed in contributing to the public “good."

He had experience looking at how governments are run and how they can do better. He thought his experience could prove helpful on the council.

“I don’t want to just waste it when I could contribute something valuable to the city,” he once said.

In 1966, Rhodes prepared the original state master plan for development of the Virginia Community College System, according to a review of the system. He was a consultant at the time. The plan laid the groundwork for development of 22 colleges and 34 campuses; some of them new, some already in existence.

Rhodes, who held four degrees from George Washington University, was vice chancellor of the Virginia Community College System from 1968 to 1970.

Rhodes ran a consulting business called Educational Service Bureau and then founded Employee Futures Research in 1980.

He also served as director of employee relations for the city of Orlando.

Rhodes was also active in local service clubs and was a member and past-president of the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Tarpon Springs, according to an obituary in the Tampa Bay Times. The obituary says he also volunteered on a civil rights commission and also volunteered as a counselor to senior victims for a police department and as an advisory chairman for Keep America Beautiful. Rhodes' death was preceded by that of one of his daughters, Laurel Lee.

The obituary says he is survived by his wife, Barbara; daughter, Roxanne Rhodes Hoare and her husband Sean of Arlington, Va.

Friends were invited to pay their respects at a local funeral home Tuesday. Private services were planned to be held in Luray, according to the obituary.  

Spencer August 30, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Mr. Rhodes was a very impressive individual. I contributed to Mr. Rhodes' campaign and he took the time to return that contribution when he lost the race. He was a fine gentleman.
The Downtown New Port Richey Art Gallery August 30, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Eric would love to share his life, experiences and imagination through his writings of both poetry and published books and we loved to listen. He was a regular in our Poetry and Author's Nights, as well a judge in our annual poetry contest. Eric was serious about making a positive contribution in everything he did, but underneath that seriousness he had a great sense of humor and warm smile! He will be truly missed here, but his stories will go on! Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Barbara and family.
Jane King August 30, 2012 at 04:44 PM
we had the pleasure of knowing Eric when he was a Kiwanian. He was very much a gentleman and scholar. He served as an officer of the Kiwanis Club of Greater West Pasco and a proud Kiwanian. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Barbara and family.
Dan Callaghan August 31, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Eric was a Virginian gentleman. He was thoughtful, intelligent, with a spine of steel in upholding American values. His eloquence and marvelous storytelling will be greatly missed.

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