Return to Ohio Biographies
Return to Index

William Castle Rhodes 
pages 353-354

THE Latins said, "Pale death strikes with equal foot at the turrets of the rich and the hovels of the poor." Distinction, whether of talents or wealth, becomes neutral and fades away in the presence of death. Before final assize, prince and beggar are of the same stature. Death is the great leveler, he is no respecter of persons. Soft-footed and unseen he haunts the pathway of every one. He is the magician turning gladness to grief, peace to dispair, music to sobs and life's sweet summer to winter's gloom and desolation. Death is the shadow glooming every light, the thorn concealed by every rose, the frown lurking in every dimpled joy. But the grave should have for mortals no fear under the light of truth; and far down the highway which we all must travel and beyond the turn in the way which we call death we may confidently hope to find those whom we loved and lost awhile. In parting with the late William Castle Rhodes, one who labored much, lived honorably, and was generous, though, being mortal, he doubtless failed some, his friends may say good-bye but not farewell.
Mr. Rhodes, who was a prominent banker, vessel and coal man, and in his college days a gridiron star of international reputation, was one of the captains of industry of the city of Cleveland, although he reached only the meridian of man's allotted years. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, July 5, 1869. He was a son of Robert Russell Rhodes and Kate Newell (Castle) Rhodes, he being the oldest child of this sterling old couple, whose other child, Fannie Sophia Rhodes, is also deceased. The mother of these two children is also deceased. The father is still living in Cleveland, being a very prominent man of affairs there. He is president of the People's Savings Bank, also president of the United States Coal Company, both of this city, and he also has other extensive interests here.
William Castle Rhodes grew to manhood in his native city and his parents looked carefully to his early training, giving him every advantage. After receiving his primary education in the schools of Cleveland he went to Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire, where he remained until 1887 when he entered Yale University at New Haven, Connecticut, where he made an excellent record in that great and historic American seat of learning, and from which he was graduated with the class of 1891. While at Yale he was active in athletics, being captain of the famous football team of 1890, and he went back to Yale for a number of years, during the football season, to coach this team, winning a reputation as one of the greatest coaches in the world. He was a member of the Keys Fraternity of Yale.
After his graduation he went into business with his father in his home city, and became vice-president of the People's Savings Bank, one of the prominent institutions of Cleveland, and he was also secretary and treasurer of the United States Coal Company, vice-president of the Huron Hospital trustees, director of the Citizens' Savings & Loan Company, director of the Cleveland Railway Company, and was largely identified with vessel and coal interests in Cleveland. He was by nature a great business man, was keen of perception and quick of discernment, could readily grasp the trend of the tides of business, and he devoted almost his undivided attention to his large affairs, which, although quite extensive he had so well systematized as to give him little trouble in their management. Whatever he turned his attention to resulted in gratifying success.
Mr. Rhodes married Myra L. Smith, of Chicago, October 1, 1910. She is a daughter of Thomas, and Mary (Brandon)Smith. She makes her home with her father-in-law at 14,532 Lake Avenue, Cleveland. It is an imposing and modernly appointed home, surrounded by spacious and beautiful grounds on the lake front, about six miles from the heart of the city. No children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes.
Mr. Rhodes was prominent socially, was one of the leading club men of the Forest City and was active and popular in the following clubs: Union, Country, Roadside, Clifton, Cleveland Athletic, and a charter member of the Tavern club; also belonged to the University Club of New York. Politically he was a Repubican, but, being a broad-minded and' well informed man he was not a biased partisan, and usually cast his vote for the man rather than the party, believing in honesty in public affairs as well as in business and social relations. He supported all movements looking toward the general good, but he was never a seeker after the emoluments and notoriety of political office. H was a man of high religious sentiment and was a worthy member of St. John's Episcopal Church of Cleveland, and was also a member of the vestry of this church, and was active in the affairs of the church and a liberal supporter of the same. He also gave liberally to worthy charitable movements, although his munificent gifts were never to gain the praise of his fellows, but rather from a sense of duty and innate love for suffering humanity.
Mr. Rhodes was without doubt, one of the most popular men of Cleveland, and when untimely death was announced on February 5, 1914, after an illness of three months, sincere regret was felt all over the city. He was in the zenith of his powers and usefulness, at the age of forty-five years, when life for him held much of promise. The funeral, which was held on February 8th, was conducted by Rev. W. A. Leonard, Episcopal Bishop of Ohio. Business men from all over the city sent beautiful tributes. The pallbearers were: Charles C. Bolton, Jr., Irving Bolton, Newell Bolton, Robert Norton, E. V. Hale, Otto Miller, Malcom McBride, C. A. Otis, and Fred A. White, of Cleveland, and Daniel Rhodes, of *Boston. Burial was in Riverside Cemetery. Thus closed the life chapter of a man whose name is destined to occupy a very high position in the list of citizens of the great metropolis of northern Ohio.


Background Design

Barbara's Bordered Backgrounds

Representative Citizens of Ohio; Memorial--Biographical (Cleveland 1917)

Page design © 2002 - 2008 by &