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Jean M. Rhodes

May 10, 1934 September 18, 2012
Jean M. Rhodes
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Obituary for Jean M. Rhodes

In spite of the hardships experienced by many Americans in the 1930's, it was a joyful time for Reginald and Louise Gaskins because on May 10, 1934 in Crewe, Virginia their eldest daughter, Jean Mae Gaskins was born.  On Tuesday, September 18, 2012 God in His infinite wisdom closed the eyes of our beloved and welcomed her into the Kingdom of Heaven.

As an only child, Jean enjoyed being spoiled by her grandparents, aunts and uncles.  Her parents gave her many pets to keep her occupied; a dog, bird, cat and even a pig all of whom became her "students" as she tried to teach them their ABC's and count to 20.  Teaching was grafted into her DNA.  She tried to be satisfied with her animals, but continued to pray and ask her parents for a little sister.   Eventually her prayers were answered and her life-long best friend, Claudia was born.  They enjoyed their time in Crewe, but when WWII began, their father was called to war and the family made the difficult decision to leave Virginia and move to Philadelphia in order to be closer to where Mr. Gaskins was stationed.  Once in Philly, she attended Brooks Elementary, Sulzberger Middle and West Philadelphia High School.  After high school, Jean attended Cheyney State College and completed graduate studies at Temple University, majoring in education.

Jean's parents allowed her to visit different churches to decide where she would like to worship.  After several visits, she decided that she wanted to make Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church her home.  1948 marked the beginning of a life long journey with Christ as she joined under the leadership of Rev. Daniel Rideout.

All of the time spent teaching her pets while still in Crewe was merely preparation for her life's passion, which was working with and advocating for underprivileged children.  Jean taught elementary school for over 32 years, retiring from Andrew Hamilton Elementary School.  Her forte was teaching "at risk" children; those students deemed difficult to work with.  She often incorporated music and the arts into instruction using musical lyrics to teach literacy.

Jean had a love for music and was instilled with a love and appreciation for all genres.  She chose at an early age to become a skilled pianist.  Her talents were a blessing to Camphor for over 55 years as the pianist for the Male and Female Chorus which later combined into the Gospel Chorus.

In 1961 she married the love of her life, Mr. Talmadge Rhodes, in Camphor Church.  They recently celebrated their 51st Wedding Anniversary with family who participated in the annual celebration of their love for each other.  They were blessed to have 3 children.

As one who never liked the spotlight, deferring to play a supporting role, Jean consistently provided mentorship and encouragement to all attempting to improve themselves.  Everyone would be guaranteed to receive a warm greeting and an encouraging word.

Continuing to celebrate her love and legacy, she leaves behind her loving husband, Talmadge; children, D. Denise, Kevin and Lisa Rhodes; daughter-in-law, Ena Fountain-Rhodes; adopted son, Carlton L. Payne; grandchildren, Brandon, Kaila and Kesabian Rhodes and Brandie Stasney; sister Claudia Manning; adopted sisters, Portia Shuler-Hawkins (William) and Brenda Cozart-Harris; nieces Carmen Manning, Darlene Manning-Edmonds (Gary), Amirah Manning, Barbara Harvey (Andrew), Connie Peterson (Jeffrey), Amy Brickett (Jared), Jennifer Rhodes, Starr and Chanda Cullars; nephews, Curtis Zafir Manning, Bob Rhodes, Jr. (Cydney), David Rhodes (Pearl), Jonathan Rhodes, Julio PentaSoto (Chanel), Michael and Bruce Gill, Felton Hool (Carol) and Ron Mills, Jr. (Paula); godson, Randy Robinson; goddaughters, JoAnna Gardner and Tiffany C. Walker and a host of other nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

There will be a viewing on Saturday, September 29, 2012 9:00 AM at Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church - 5620 Wyalusing Avenue.  The funeral service will start at 11:00 AM.  Interment to conclude at Glenwood Memorial Gardens in Broomall, PA.

To send flowers in memory of Jean M. Rhodes, visit the Tribute Store.

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