Long-time Thomaston City Council member and retired educator Wallace Rhodes, 77, passed away Wednesday, June 5, 2013. Rhodes was finishing up his fourth consecutive term on the City Council representing District 4, and due to his deteriorating health, had already announced that he would not seek a fifth term.
“Coach, and councilmember, Wallace Rhodes will be greatly missed by his community,” Thomaston Mayor Hays Arnold said in a Facebook message Wednesday night after hearing of the passing of his friend. “He was dedicated to the betterment of the citizens of the City of Thomaston and was extremely loyal to his friends. He endured severe illness and was an example of courage to all who knew him. At this moment, he is in a grander place and occupies a perfect body.”
Former Upson County Commission Chairman Maurice Raines also expressed his regret at the loss of Wallace Rhodes in a Facebook message Wednesday night.
“I want say to the Upson County and City of Thomaston community we lost a true public servant in the passing of Mr. Wallace Rhodes. I can truly say he wanted this community to work together and improve everyone’s quality of life. He always was willing to communicate and everyone respected his servitude. He served as my High School superintendent and he was a friend, not a foe. Mr. Rhodes and Mrs. Rhodes both had a profound impact on my life that I will never forget. I ask this community to pray for the family strength in their time of bereavement. If all public servants were like this man, giving back to those that blessed him, this country and world would be a better place. A job well done, Mr. Wallace Rhodes, you were a community champion.”
“Coach” Rhodes, as he is fondly remembered by many people, grew up in Cuthbert, Ga. He graduated from Auburn University and completed graduate work at both Mercer University and the University of Georgia. Upon graduation from Auburn University, Mr. Rhodes returned to Cuthbert and taught at Cuthbert High School for six years.
Mr. Rhodes moved his family to Thomaston in 1964. During his time in Thomaston, Mr. Rhodes has held positions as a teacher, coach, assistant principal, and principal at R.E. Lee Institute before serving the final 10 years of his career as superintendent of Thomaston City Schools. He retired from this position in 1990.
Coach Rhodes was inducted into the Thomaston-Upson County Sports Hall of Fame in February of this year. His induction statement reads:
“Wallace Rhodes is a 1954 graduate of Cuthbert High School. He was a four-year letterman in football, basketball, baseball, and track. Rhodes attended Auburn University and was a member of the freshman basketball team. In 1964 Rhodes became the head coach for the boys basketball team, head coach for the track team, and assistant football coach at R.E. Lee Institute. Rhodes finished the 1968 basketball season with a 21-3 record; he finished the 1975 season with a 22-3 record. Over a dozen of his player received scholarships to play at the college level in their sport. In 1976 Rhodes became Principal of R.E. Lee Institute and then Superintendent of Thomaston City Schools. Rhodes currently resides in Thomaston with his wife Lynda; he is a member of the Thomaston City Council.”