Edgar H. Rhode passed away peacefully on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 in Copperas Cove, Texas at the age of 98. He was born on August 8, 1916 on a farm outside of Hampton, Nebraska, the second of twelve children born to Fred and Elsie Rhode, ten of whom survived infancy. Most important to him was his Christian faith and belief in Jesus Christ as his Savior, followed by his love for his wife Lorette, his children and grandchildren, hard work and the United States Army.
Ed lived through the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, leaving the farm in 1939 to join the Army so he could send money home. As a U. S. Army 1st Lieutenant, he was stationed at Camp (later Fort) Hood where he attended Immanuel Lutheran Church and met the love of his life Lorette, whom he married on February 22, 1944. They were married for 66 years until her death on April 25, 2010. After six years of military service, he resigned his commission as a Captain and opened Rhode’s Foods, which he operated until his retirement in 1995. As a result of his gregarious personality, he had countless friends at home and all over the world.
Ed was a tireless supporter of his church, Trinity Lutheran, of which he was a charter member, his community and the U. S. Army. Among the roles he played were Mayor of Copperas Cove, City Councilman, lifetime member of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), founding member and Chairman of the Copperas Cove Military Affairs Committee, for which he and Lorette hosted countless parties and dinners and entertained thousands of soldiers of all ranks in their legendary backyard. He was a Director of First National Bank, Killeen, for 50 years, as well as Fort Hood National Bank and Cove State Bank. In 1966 he attended the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference at the invitation of Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Ed served as President and director of the Coryell County American Red Cross and on the founding committee of Central Texas College, the Central Texas College Foundation, the C. R. Clements Scholarship Committee, and the Central Texas Upper Level University Task Force, which resulted in the creation of Tarleton State University of Stephenville extension campus, a part of the Texas A & M system. In 1995 he received the Department of the Army Commander’s Award for Public Service and in 1996 the III Corps and Fort Hood Commanding General’s “Good Neighbor Award.” In 2004, he was honored by the dedication in his name of the U. S. Army Operational Test Command Technical Library at West Fort Hood. In 2006 he received the Exchange Club’s Golden Deeds Award.
Ed was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Delbert and Donald, sisters Elvira, Margaret, Helen, Dorothy and Luella. He is survived by his daughters Cheryl Rhode, Houston, Marcia Rhode and her husband Attila Finta, Austin, son Brett Rhode and his wife Wendy and adored twin granddaughters Twyla and Molly, Austin, and devoted sister Phyllis Pinnow, who lovingly cared for him in his last years. He is further survived by his brother Clarence, sisters Delores and Barbara and numerous nieces and nephews, for many of whom he was “Uncle Rhode.”
The family will receive guests at a visitation from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Thursday, August 28 at Crawford-Bowers Funeral Home in Copperas Cove. The funeral service will be held at 12:00 noon, Friday, August 29 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Copperas Cove with Pastor Bernard Schey officiating. Interment will follow at 2:00 pm in the afternoon in the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery.
In place of usual remembrances, Ed’s family suggests that donations be made in his memory to Wounded Warrior Project, P. O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675.www.woundedwarriorproject.org.