I, James Robert Rhodes, III of DeValls Bluff, Arkansas died on February 17, 2020 from Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. I was born April 9, 1940, the son of James Robert (JR), Jr. and Regina Rhodes of DeValls Bluff.
I was educated in the DeValls Bluff Schools, graduating in 1958. I continued my education by going to University of Arkansas and getting my accounting degree in 1962. I then entered law school graduating in January of 1965. While at the University, I was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon social fraternity, where I met many of my life-long friends.
While in college, I was a member of Schola Cantorum, a choir of 40 people, 36 of them music majors, for four years. In 1962, we were invited to compete in the world’s Polifonic Acapella Choir competition held every 10 years, in Arrezzo, Italy and were the only choir invited from the United States. We won and returned to the United States and sang for President John F. Kennedy at the White House and sang on television’s “Today Show” program from New York.
I was in the Army Reserves for 6 years being a JAG Captain when I resigned.
I practiced law in Little Rock for 37 years with different law firms including Moses, McClellan, Arnold, Owens, and McDermott and my own firm of Ward, Rhodes, Hickey and Garrett from 1976 to 1986. I was assistant U.S. Attorney from 1968 to 1972 and retired in 2002 after serving “of counsel” with Dover and Dixon Law Firm for 16 years and one year with Darren O’Quinn.
I was licensed to practice in all Federal and State Courts, was appointed to serve as Special Justice on Supreme Court of Arkansas by Governor David Pryor. I was President of Arkansas Trial Lawyers for one year and had the pleasure of being in Pulaski County Bar Association “Grid Iron” show from 1966 to 1992, a musical satire, playing many roles including Ed Wright, Judge Bill Kirby, Gary Hart, Fannie Fox, and Jackie Kennedy.
After returning to Prairie County in 2002, I served as District Court Judge for Southern District of Prairie County from 2005 to 2017 with the help of Annette Felts, my chief clerk and a very special person whose friendship I cherished very much.
My hobbies included hunting, fishing, and traveling. I have been fortunate to travel with my wife, Lonna to all seven continents. We hunted and fished on four continents, including safaris to Africa, fishing the jungles of the Amazon, the Artic, and many other places. I met many interesting people, saw many beautiful places, and enjoyed the company of good friends, but nothing was better than hunting ducks in Cache River Bottoms with my friend, Hank Browne and the White River Bottoms with my old friend, Clifton Robinson, now deceased.
I have had many friends in my lifetime and I won’t try to name them all, but Randy McNulty and Gus Vratsinas are special. I also loved the people of Prairie County. If Lonna or I had a problem, there was always someone to help us, such as Freddie and Darlene Rogers, and Chris Cook, and many more.
I am survived by my wife, Lonna, my partner, soul-mate and the love of my life; my son, James Robert Rhodes, IV, of North Little Rock, Arkansas; my daughter, Jennifer Jane Rhodes, her husband, Gus Costantino of San Francisco, California; grandson, James Robert Rhodes, V, of Little Rock, Arkansas and many cousins and nieces. I am predeceased by my parents, J.R. and Regina Rhodes and Paul Jacob Rhodes, my brother.
“I had a real good time.”
The Rhodes family would like to thank Arkansas Hospice and specifically nurse Emily White for providing excellent support and care.
Arrangements by Westbrook Funeral Home, Hazen, Arkansas. Celebration of Life Service to be held at 10:00 a.m., Friday, February 21, 2020, at the Hazen Community Center, 906 East Front Street, Hazen, Arkansas.