Donald J. Rhoads

January 27, 1944November 19, 2021

Donald James Rhoads, 77, of Portsmouth, RI, passed away on Friday, November 19, 2021 at Charlton Memorial Hospital. He was the beloved husband and best friend of Jennie (Clemans) Rhoads for 55 years. Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, he was the son of the late Donald Jesse and late Marjorie Rose (Horn) Rhoads. He spent his childhood growing up on his family farm in Fremont, Indiana where he was always outdoors doing everything from ice fishing to hunting. He was an Eagle Scout and his high school’s class president.

Don graduated from Purdue University with his degree in Electrical Engineering where he met his soul mate Jennie. Together they moved to New Brunswick, New Jersey where Don received his Master’s at Rutger’s, worked at Bell Labs and was a PhD candidate before he took a job with Sperry UNIVAC in Maryland. Don moved to Portsmouth, RI in 1982 to work at what became Lockheed Martin and retired in 2011.

Don was a man of many passions. They ranged from model airplane flying, building kayaks and kayaking, saltwater fly fishing and, his latest, electric bike riding. Don especially loved his beagles: the late Twain, late Lily and his current dog, Bandit. If Don could not bring Bandit with him he just would not go. Nearby residents often called him the mayor of the neighborhood because he loved to walk Bandit and visit with his friends and their children.

Above all, Don treasured his family. Besides his wife and Bandit, he is survived by his son Tyler Rhoads, Tyler’s partner Lexi Rockwell, his daughter, Jennifer Rhoads, her husband Kevin Rea, and his beloved grandchildren Stella, Oliver, Imogen, Mia and Briar; brother Jon Rhoads and sister-in law Missy of Union Mills, NC and his nephew and nieces Ryan, Aryanna and Emilie.

A small family celebration of his life was held in his honor at Coddington Brewery on November 21.

An outdoor memorial for family and friends will be held in the summer of 2022.

Memorial donations can be made to The Potter League for Animals at or just be especially kind to your four legged friends and get out, walk around your neighborhood and make friends with your neighbors.


  • Services to be announced


Donald J. Rhoads

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