Stephen Joseph Rhodes, 69, formerly of Winfield, known to family and friends as one of the last "good guys," died Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Las Vegas, Nev.
A memorial will be held in September 2020 at the Walnut Valley Festival, with details to be announced later. His wife, Ann, said Steve would be honored with a donation to the Animal Foundation of Las Vegas, Nev., or any charity of your choice. The best way to remember Steve is by passing kindness forward.
Harold E. “Dusty” and Carol J. Rhodes greeted their son on July 26, 1950. Steve always felt grateful for growing up in Winfield, where he and his cousin Alan could ride bikes across town.
Steve attended Lowell Elementary School, where Ed Foster encouraged his life-long love of learning. Steve had his nose in a book the rest of his life. He participated in wrestling, and in Boy Scouts and Explorer Scouts in high school. Steve's love for music grew while a member of the Winfield High School marching band. He began taking guitar lessons from Stuart Mossman, who became a musical mentor. Steve volunteered at the first Walnut Valley Festival held at the fairgrounds and looked forward to gathering with musical friends every September.
After graduating from WHS in 1968, Steve attended Cowley County Junior College. He and his lifelong friend, Glen Bennett, joined the Navy in 1969. He was stationed at Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare School in San Diego and was honorably discharged in 1973.
California became his home after he married Ann Marie Pierce that year. From the beginning, the whole family knew that Steve had met the perfect life partner, who brought out the best in him! We are so grateful for how she cared for him in his last illness.
Steve continued his education at Mira Costa College, earning an associate's degree in mathematics and electronics. He was employed by NCR Corp., and Sears, and was a project manager for Quality Image Publishing.
Steve and Ann left California and moved to Alaska in 1998, falling in love with America's last frontier. Camping, fishing and 4-wheeling with friends kept them busy, and Steve and Ann were always happy to introduce family and friends to the marvels of the 49th state.
Steve was known for his loyalty, his sense of fun, his compassionate spirit and his love for nature. Many will say they couldn't find a better friend, and he was the best big brother a girl could ask for.
He is survived and missed by his wife, Ann; his sister and brother-in-law, Teri and Ted Farha, of Wichita; his sister and brother-in-law, Julie and Dick Mauk, of Omaha, Neb.; and cousins, nephews and nieces across the country.