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William T. "Will" Rhodes 1863-1925


Posted By: Merllene Andre Bendixen (email)
Date: 4/26/2015 at 16:36:34

Will T. Rhodes Dies; A Banker Here 30 Years
Was Sixty-two Years old; Came to Estherville in the year 1886
Will T. Rhodes, Vice President of the First Trust and Savings Bank, and one of the most respected men in Estherville, died Wednesday [August 19, 1925] evening of last week at 6:30. He had been in poor health for several months, having been confined in Mayo’s hospital at Rochester and in a hospital here shortly before his death.

The death, however, was a shock to his friends because it was not realized that his condition was so serious. At the time he died, he was confined to his bed at the G.W. Gruwell Home.

Mr. Rhodes was a resident of Estherville for thirty-nine years and was connected with the bank for thirty years. For the past nine years he was Vice President. He was also a student of good literature and was a naturalist.

Funeral services were held Friday at 2:00 p.m. at the Gruwell home. The officiating minister was Rev. W.M. Evans of Cedar Rapids, who was once a Presbyterian minister here and who was a friend of Mr. Rhodes. The pall bearers were John Greig, Perce Pullen, Shelby Broms, Howard Espeset, Lloyd Stockdale and Alex Johnson.

He is survived by his mother, Mrs. Sarah Rhodes of Union Grove, Wisconsin; two sisters, Mrs. G.W. Gruwell of this city and Mrs. F.I. Byerly of Chicago, and four brothers, F.H. Rhodes of this city, and Henry, Charles and Ernest Rhodes of Brighton, Wisconsin.

William T. Rhodes
William T. Rhodes was born April 29, 1863 at Brighton, Wisconsin. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Rhodes of that city. He received his common school education at Brighton and when twenty-three years of age came to Estherville.

Mr. Rhodes was graduated from the University of Valparaiso, located at Valparaiso, Indiana, and then came back to Estherville to enter with his brother, F.H. Rhodes, in the mercantile business.

In 1894 they organized a bank which they called The Bank of Estherville, of which Mr. Rhodes was cashier, but this bank was reorganized in 1916 and called the First Trust and Savings bank. Mr. Rhodes was made Vice President and his brother, F.H. Rhodes, President. Mr. Rhodes was active in this position until a few weeks before his death.

Will Rhodes found pleasure not only in performing well an obliging his duties in the bank but was tremendously interested in the fine things of life. Political strife and petty jealousy never worried him.

He was a student and found great pleasure in the possession and in the reading of good books. Music and other forms of art also appealed to him. He took much enjoyment in attending classical music recitals and in reviewing art galleries.

During his life Will Rhodes made numerous trips to tropical lands where he studied birds and flowers, oftentimes bringing back with him unique specimens.

He made his home with his sister, Mrs. G.W. Gruwell, and took pride in landscaping and caring for the yard. He also cultivated a fine garden.

No one was more sincere, more honest, more interested in seeing everyone have a square deal. Few knew of his interests in books and art, but everyone who had business transactions with him knew that he was always actuated by the highest of principles.

Estherville keenly feels the loss of a valued citizen, admired and respected by all who knew him. (Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, IA, August 26, 1925)

W.T. Rhodes A Pioneer Passed Away on Last Fri. Evening
While many of the close friends of W.T. Rhodes had known for some time past that he was considered critically ill, there were none, not even the family, who knew the end was so near. Mr. Rhodes had been in very poor health for some time past. He had only recently returned from Rochester where he had been in the Mayo hospital. They had told him there was nothing the trouble but nervousness. On Wednesday evening while he was preparing to retire for the night the end came with a suddenness that was a shocking surprise to his immediate relatives and his friends over the city.

It has been our extreme pleasure to have known Mr. Rhodes intimately since our boyhood. After entering the practice of law we became a member of what was known as the “Singular Club”. Mr. Rhodes was also one of the twelve that were members. In our camping trips, our meetings, and the social events, he was the life of the gathering. Always full of fun. Always foremost in whatever was done. He was quiet in his manners but no as quiet with his friends, as he was found in a business way. We can safely say that we have never known a more likeable man, and one who was more generally liked among his intimate associates than was Will Rhodes, as he was known. With the old “Singular” bunch it was just plain “Bill”. Mr. Rhodes was very fond of travel and each year he travelled over some new section of the country. There is probably not a local man who has seen more of the country than has Mr. Rhodes.

As a business man he was a great success, not only in a business way and with business methods, but in a financial way. Always attending to business, and always pleasing his customers by his genial manners and accommodating ways.

William T. Rhodes passed away at the home of his sister, Mrs. Geo. Gruwell at six-thirty on last Wednesday evening. He was born in Brighton, Wis. on April the twenty-ninth, 1863. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Rhodes of that city and a member of a family of four boys. F.H. Rhodes of this city, and Henry, Ernest and Charles of Brighton, Wis., and two sisters, Mrs. Geo. Gruwell of this city and Mrs. F.I. Byerly of Chicago. The funeral services were held from the Geo. Gruwell home on Friday afternoon at two o’clock, the Rev. Wm. Evans, a former pastor of this city officiating, interment was made in Oak Hill cemetery. (Estherville Enterprise, Estherville, IA, August 26, 1925)

W.T. Rhodes Passed Away on Wednesday
His Death a Shock to Many Estherville People
Ill Only A Short Time
A Prominent Resident of This City Nearly Forty Years
Funeral Held Friday
William T. Rhodes, one of Estherville’s most respected pioneer citizens, passed away last Wednesday evening at 6:30. His death came as a great shock to the many friends of the Rhodes family in this city who were unaware that his illness was as serious as it proved to be. For the past two months he had been complaining of poor health but during that time he had attended to his duties at the First Trust & Savings Bank and it was only the last few days of his illness that he was confined to his bed. He was born April 29, 1863, at Brighton, Wis., the son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Rhodes, and attended the public schools at that place. In 1886 he came to Estherville and made this city his home ever since. He attended the Valparaiso Institute at Valparaiso, Ind. After his graduation from this institution he entered the mercantile business with his brother, F.H. Rhodes, in this city. In 1894 they organized the Bank of Estherville and Mr. Rhodes acted as cashier. This position he held until 1916 when the bank was reorganized into the First Trust & Savings Bank and he was named vice president. Mr. Rhodes was a man whom it was a great pleasure to know. His friends could be numbered only by his acquaintances and the feeling of gloom that passed over this city when It was learned that he had passed away is an indication of the great respect and admiration the people of this city held for him. He was known for his honesty and square dealings and through this policy he has not only won many friends but has also earned his share of the world’s goods. He was active in the business life in this community and will be greatly missed from the business and social life of the city. His pleasant smile and cheery greeting for young and old, rich and poor, was one of his notable characteristics. He was a man of exceptionally high principles and always lived in accordance with them. He is survived by two sisters, Mrs. George Gruwell, of this city, and Mrs. F.I. Byerly of Chicago, Ill., and four brothers, F.H. Rhodes, of this city, and Henry, Charles and Ernest Rhodes, of Brighton, Wis. Funeral services were held Friday afternoon at the Gruwell home at 2:00 o’clock, Rev. Wm. M. Evans, of Cedar Rapids, officiating. Interment was made in Oak Hill Cemetery. The pallbearers were John Greig, Perce Pullen, Selby Broms, Howard Espeset, Lloyd Stockdale and Alex Johnston. The many friends in this city extend their sympathy to the bereaved relatives in their hours of sorrow and grief. (Estherville Democrat, Estherville, IA, August 26, 1925)


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