Ron Rhoades

picture of Ron Rodes
04-29-1924 to 11-26-2012

Every year around Christmas time, we remember a very special member of the Dundee Township Lions, Lion Ron Rhoades. We do so, because in 2013, the Dundee Lions Club decided to honor Ron Rhoades by permanently adding his name to the annual Festival of Trees Event.

The Ron Rhoades Festival of Trees

Ron was a resident of Dundee for 61 years and his lifetime commitment to service left a lasting mark on the community. For 31 years, he was an educator for District 300 and the first Principal of Dundee Highlands Elementary School. Ron was a faithful member and elder of Bethlehem Lutheran Church and a member of the Dundee Town-ship Lions Club for 59 years, where he held numerous leadership positions and contributed in numerous community service projects. 

Ron was born on April 28, 1924 in Seattle, WA. He served our country in W.W.II, as a Corporal in the U.S. Army. He was in the actual war in Europe as well as the occupation troops in Japan. 

In 1951, Ron married Jeanette (a fellow school teacher by the way), and also moved to Dundee. Having earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Northern Illinois Teachers College and a Masters of Arts from the University of Illinois, he was hired on in our local school district as a teacher, eventually becoming the School Principal in School District # 300. He served the school district for 31years. 

Ron became a member of the Dundee Lion’s Club in 1953. He served for 59 years, During that time, serving as secretary in 1958-’59. I should add that he was also a member of the Cardunal Jaycees in 1958 and was in charge of their Christmas Tree sales. 

His whole-souled spirit with the Lions continued to be demonstrated…. He served as president in 1961-’62, and again in 2002,’03 and secretary again from 2003-’06, and then secretary emeritus in 2006,’07. Ron received the highest honor that a Lion can receive, the Melvin Jones Fellow Award. He was a lifetime member of the Lions Club. 

He served in other positions as well, 2 year director in 1985, Chairman of the Candy Day in 1977. He was deeply involved with the Chicken & Corn Roast, where he ran the “Carry-out.” Cars would pull up by the park (Tower Park—Now Grafelman) with their ticket and be handed the qty of food they had ordered. This was decades before restaurants starting having “drive-up” service! He was also deeply involved with the “Festival of Trees” and enjoyed awarding the prizes during this event. 

At his funeral, the “Celebration of Life”, many great stories of Ron were shared. One in particular that helps us to appreciate his humor and personality, is Ron, dressing as Big Bird and walking through school, leading a parade. He was in costume every year, some of them includ-ing the “shark” from Jaws, also an “organ grinder” with his son, Scott, being the “’monkey” as well as others. Can you begin to imagine how that would have endeared the students to their principal? By the way, it was his wife, Jeanette, that made all of his costumes. 

Ron Rhoades is definitely a Legacy Lion.

Picture of Big Bird from TV
picture of the from the Cardubal free press news paper October 1977 of the lions candy day

Thursday, Oct. 13, 1977 Cardunal Free Press