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Edwards Funeral Home

201 North 12Th Street, Fort Smith, AR

OBITUARY

Sarah Rhodes

March 16, 1932November 29, 2019

Sarah Jeanne Rhodes, 87, of Fort Smith, beloved wife of Richard Rhodes; and mother of Sam, Tim and Beth Rhodes, entered eternal life on November 29, 2019 surrounded by her family.

Sarah was born on March 16, 1932 in Bristow, Oklahoma to Nancy Eunice and Clarence Beryl Savage. Clarence, a Baptist minister, was stationed in France during World War I as a bombardier in the fledgling Air Service of the U.S. Army. Clarence hated war, but he loved France and gave Sarah the middle name Jeanne in honor of Jeanne d’Arc. One of Sarah’s most treasured memories was of her father singing “La Marseillaise.”

When Clarence died in 1940, at the age of 46, Sarah and her siblings were placed in an orphanage, as their mother was too ill to care for them. Sarah remembered that she wanted to protect and comfort her little brother and sister as much as possible during that time. As a result of these experiences, Sarah made a point of supporting the Fort Smith Children’s Emergency Shelter, the Salvation Army, and other rescue missions, for she knew very deeply what it meant to be without a loving and secure home. Richard made it his life’s goal to make sure that Sarah always had a home of her own and their home was a place of comfort and peace for them both.

Sarah attended Ouachita Baptist University, before graduating from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics in 1952. She earned a Master of Education degree from the University of Arkansas in 1972. Sarah began her teaching career at Howe High School in Oklahoma, where the students were often taller than she was. She also met Richard in Howe, at the boarding house where they both lived. Richard thought Sarah was the sweetest and loveliest woman he had ever met and, even after 65 years together, he made a point of telling her that every day.

Sarah and Richard married in 1954 and moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas, where Sarah taught at Greenwood High School and later at Carnall Elementary School. Sarah was a master teacher whose integrity, creativity, and compassion enriched the lives her students. Sarah not only taught little children how to read: she showed them how a love of learning could change their lives. Former students often reached out to let her know how much she had meant to them and how she had set them on a better path.

Sarah was the mother of Kelly Richard, Samuel Richard, Timothy John and Jeanne Elizabeth Rhodes. Her first baby, Kelly, born premature, lived for two days. Her second baby she named Samuel, a name which means “God heard my prayer.” Timothy John bounced into this world feet-first and was named Timothy, which means “to honor God” and John, for the doctor, John Ben Stewart, a World War II hero, who delivered him safely. Jeanne Elizabeth was named to keep a connection to her father who she hadn’t had a chance to really know. Sarah was deeply devoted to her family, loved her children and their spouses, grandchildren and their spouses and great-grandchildren dearly and was very proud of them.

Sarah was an accomplished musician, and played her piano daily, with Richard often joining in on harmonica. She also served as the pianist at Immanuel Baptist Church in Fort Smith, during the 1970s. Sarah and Richard made it a priority to give their children a house full of musical instruments, a gift that has inspired a lifetime of joy for Sam, Tim and Beth.

Sarah loved her garden and spent many happy hours working in it, joined by the stray cat who adopted her. Even though he fled in terror from almost everyone else, he followed Sarah around as she worked in her flowerbeds, snuggling close to her. He was not a pretty cat: it looked as if he had been on the losing end of a fight with a moving car, his neck permanently cocked to one side. But, in a world that often focuses on outer not inner beauties, he lived a long and happy life because he had found a gentle and trustworthy friend in Sarah. He was not alone in this. Sarah often saw beauty and worth in those overlooked by others.

Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 81, and suffered a stroke at age 85. She fought these conditions with courage, grace and optimism. With the deepest gratitude, Sarah’s family thanks the doctors, nurses and technicians at St. Edwards Mercy Medical Center, Doctors Daniel Mackey, Kurt Mehl, and Mark McCoy; caregiver Susan Carnett; Heart of Hospice, and Sarah’s daughter-in-law, Dr. Nadine Alex for their loving care. Sarah’s granddaughter and her husband, Stephanie and Doug Grimm of Fort Smith, were a daily blessing to Sarah and Richard, as were dear friends Deborah Yeager Clark, Doug Cooke and Allyn Donaubauer.

Sarah is survived by Richard; son, Sam (wife Alice, children Stephanie Grimm, Melissa Rhodes Carter and Samuel, and grandchildren Elsa, Gemma and Leo Carter); son, Tim (wife Nadine and children Kaitlin and Haley Rhodes); daughter, Beth; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Sarah is reunited with infant son, Kelly; with her Mother and Father; with brother, C.B. Savage; and sister, Margaret Hamilton.

Mr. Rogers, who Sarah loved, told us there is a Hebrew phrase “tikkun olam” which translated means “repairers of creation.” Every day Sarah worked as a repairer of creation, performing small acts of kindness and bestowing words of love and encouragement. In this, and in all ways, Sarah Jeanne Savage Rhodes was truly a child of Christ. She is received into His loving arms with these words, “well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Visitation will be held at Edwards Funeral Home at noon on Thursday, December 5th, with the service following at 1:00 p.m. Pastor Kevin Thompson of Community Bible Church in Fort Smith will officiate. Pallbearers are: Stephen Carter, Doug Cooke, Craig Floro, Doug Grimm, Shannon Smedley and Aaron Windsor.

Memorial donations may be made to the Fort Smith Children’s Emergency Shelter and the Salvation Army.

Online condolences may be sent to www.edwardsfuneralhome.com

  • FAMILY

  • Richard Rhodes, Husband
  • Nancy Eunice Savage, Mother (deceased)
  • Clarence Beryl Savage, Father (deceased)
  • Sam Rhodes and wife Alice, Son
  • Stephanie Grimm, Melissa Rhodes Carter and Samuel, Grandchildren
  • Elsa, Gemma and Leo Carter, Great Grandchildren
  • Tim Rhodes and wife Nadine, Son
  • Kaitlin and Haley Rhodes, Grandchildren
  • Beth Rhodes, Daughter
  • C.B. Savage, Brother (deceased)
  • Margaret Hamilton, Sister (deceased)
  • Sarah is also survived by hermany nieces, nephews and cousins.
  • PALLBEARERS

  • Stephen Carter, Active Pallbearer
  • Doug Cooke, Active Pallbearer
  • Craig Floro, Active Pallbearer
  • Doug Grimm, Active Pallbearer
  • Shannon Smedley, Active Pallbearer
  • Aaron Windsor, Active Pallbearer
  • DONATIONS

  • Fort Smith Children’s Emergency Shelter
  • The Salvation Army

Services

PREVIOUS SERVICES:

  • Visitation Thursday, December 5, 2019
  • Funeral Service Thursday, December 5, 2019

OTHER SERVICES:

  • Burial

Memories

Sarah Rhodes

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Dan & Mia Smith

December 3, 2019

Sarah came into our lives about 23 years ago and wow what a blessing to know her. She had a beautiful soul. She was always happy with a smile that brightened every room. Smiles are contagious you know! I never remember a time that I saw her and it didn't immediately add a smile to my face, no matter what kind of day it was.
She never complained and was always thankful for her and Mr. Rhodes care. We especially enjoyed the fresh flowers from her garden that would add cheer to our area, just as she did. We were honored when Mr & Mrs. Rhodes came to our wedding. We only desire to have a marriage like they always presented themselves. Their love for each other is not seen much in our world today. They are definitely an inspiration! We have learned a lot from this amazing couple that will be cherished for a lifetime. Thank you God for putting Sarah and Richard Rhodes in our lives. Sarah was a true angel on earth! Thank you Mrs. Rhodes for your cheerful heart that you shared with us. You will be truly missed, but never forgotten.

Sid Servin

December 3, 2019

Sarah was one of the most gracious women I have ever met. I have very fond memories of her and Richard as neighbors when growing up on S. 26 th Street. She had kind words for everyone and you could see the sincerity in them.
My sincerest condolences goes out to her family and especially to you Richard. My heart cries for your loss and Iwill be thinking of you Thursday which also be my 72nd birthday. I would be there if I could.
Sidney

Elizabeth Perry-Cameron

December 1, 2019

Mrs. Rhodes was my 4th grade teacher at Carnall Elementary. She was such a sweet person and a wonderful teacher. I have very fond memories of her. Prayers of comfort for her family and friends.

Tim Rhodes

November 30, 2019

The following is a letter that we read to Sarah several weeks before she died:

Letter to Sarah
Nov 3, 2019
Dear Precious Sarah,
You are one of the most remarkable individuals that we have ever known. Despite a childhood full of deprivation, trials and tribulations, you courageously rose above all obstacles, graduated from college (at a time when very few women were even thinking about college), then entered the profession of teaching, devoting 30 years to it while raising 3 wonderful, intelligent, and talented children. Your legacy will live on through them, through the students that you taught, and all the lives that you have touched.
In over 25 years of knowing you, we have never heard you complain. You always find a silver lining and are forever optimistic.
We have never heard you say a contrary word about anyone-you are so above that.
Your thank you card is in the mail the moment you receive any type of gift, no matter how big or small. You are so appreciative of any kind gesture.
You are completely unspoiled. You are grateful for everything you have, especially your family, and for the simple pleasures this life on Earth holds- gardening, flowers, the beauty and awe of nature. You are resourceful, never wasteful. You make the most of everything.
You have a keen interest and pride in your roots. You did Ancestry.com before most people ever heard of it, tracing your family back many generations. That is such a gift to all of us.
You are curious and interested in everything, always eager to learn and share.
You are a perfect role model, a wonderful mother and mother-in-law, grandmother, great grandmother, and a true Southern Lady. You are beautiful, inside and out. You are kind, gentle, sweet and loving.
Your strong spirit has brought you this far-87 incredible years, battling many health problems.
When you pass on to the next life, we know you will live that life to the fullest, as you’ve lived this life to the fullest. And the Good Lord, your ancestors and friends that have already passed, will be eagerly awaiting you. And we will catch up to you when our time comes.

With deepest love and affection,

Tim, Nadine, Kaitlin and Haley

A person who was always thankful, Sarah died Thanksgiving evening.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Biography

Sarah Jeanne Rhodes, 87, of Fort Smith, beloved wife of Richard Rhodes; and mother of Sam, Tim and Beth Rhodes, entered eternal life on November 29, 2019 surrounded by her family.

Sarah was born on March 16, 1932 in Bristow, Oklahoma to Nancy Eunice and Clarence Beryl Savage. Clarence, a Baptist minister, was stationed in France during World War I as a bombardier in the fledgling Air Service of the U.S. Army. Clarence hated war, but he loved France and gave Sarah the middle name Jeanne in honor of Jeanne d’Arc. One of Sarah’s most treasured memories was of her father singing “La Marseillaise.”

When Clarence died in 1940, at the age of 46, Sarah and her siblings were placed in an orphanage, as their mother was too ill to care for them. Sarah remembered that she wanted to protect and comfort her little brother and sister as much as possible during that time. As a result of these experiences, Sarah made a point of supporting the Fort Smith Children’s Emergency Shelter, the Salvation Army, and other rescue missions, for she knew very deeply what it meant to be without a loving and secure home. Richard made it his life’s goal to make sure that Sarah always had a home of her own and their home was a place of comfort and peace for them both.

Sarah attended Ouachita Baptist University, before graduating from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics in 1952. She earned a Master of Education degree from the University of Arkansas in 1972. Sarah began her teaching career at Howe High School in Oklahoma, where the students were often taller than she was. She also met Richard in Howe, at the boarding house where they both lived. Richard thought Sarah was the sweetest and loveliest woman he had ever met and, even after 65 years together, he made a point of telling her that every day.

Sarah and Richard married in 1954 and moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas, where Sarah taught at Greenwood High School and later at Carnall Elementary School. Sarah was a master teacher whose integrity, creativity, and compassion enriched the lives her students. Sarah not only taught little children how to read: she showed them how a love of learning could change their lives. Former students often reached out to let her know how much she had meant to them and how she had set them on a better path.

Sarah was the mother of Kelly Richard, Samuel Richard, Timothy John and Jeanne Elizabeth Rhodes. Her first baby, Kelly, born premature, lived for two days. Her second baby she named Samuel, a name which means “God heard my prayer.” Timothy John bounced into this world feet-first and was named Timothy, which means “to honor God” and John, for the doctor, John Ben Stewart, a World War II hero, who delivered him safely. Jeanne Elizabeth was named to keep a connection to her father who she hadn’t had a chance to really know. Sarah was deeply devoted to her family, loved her children and their spouses, grandchildren and their spouses and great-grandchildren dearly and was very proud of them.

Sarah was an accomplished musician, and played her piano daily, with Richard often joining in on harmonica. She also served as the pianist at Immanuel Baptist Church in Fort Smith, during the 1970s. Sarah and Richard made it a priority to give their children a house full of musical instruments, a gift that has inspired a lifetime of joy for Sam, Tim and Beth.

Sarah loved her garden and spent many happy hours working in it, joined by the stray cat who adopted her. Even though he fled in terror from almost everyone else, he followed Sarah around as she worked in her flowerbeds, snuggling close to her. He was not a pretty cat: it looked as if he had been on the losing end of a fight with a moving car, his neck permanently cocked to one side. But, in a world that often focuses on outer not inner beauties, he lived a long and happy life because he had found a gentle and trustworthy friend in Sarah. He was not alone in this. Sarah often saw beauty and worth in those overlooked by others.

Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 81, and suffered a stroke at age 85. She fought these conditions with courage, grace and optimism. With the deepest gratitude, Sarah’s family thanks the doctors, nurses and technicians at St. Edwards Mercy Medical Center, Doctors Daniel Mackey, Kurt Mehl, and Mark McCoy; caregiver Susan Carnett; Heart of Hospice, and Sarah’s daughter-in-law, Dr. Nadine Alex for their loving care. Sarah’s granddaughter and her husband, Stephanie and Doug Grimm of Fort Smith, were a daily blessing to Sarah and Richard, as were dear friends Deborah Yeager Clark, Doug Cooke and Allyn Donaubauer.

Sarah is survived by Richard; son, Sam (wife Alice, children Stephanie Grimm, Melissa Rhodes Carter and Samuel, and grandchildren Elsa, Gemma and Leo Carter); son, Tim (wife Nadine and children Kaitlin and Haley Rhodes); daughter, Beth; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Sarah is reunited with infant son, Kelly; with her Mother and Father; with brother, C.B. Savage; and sister, Margaret Hamilton.

Mr. Rogers, who Sarah loved, told us there is a Hebrew phrase “tikkun olam” which translated means “repairers of creation.” Every day Sarah worked as a repairer of creation, performing small acts of kindness and bestowing words of love and encouragement. In this, and in all ways, Sarah Jeanne Savage Rhodes was truly a child of Christ. She is received into His loving arms with these words, “well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Visitation will be held at Edwards Funeral Home at noon on Thursday, December 5th, with the service following at 1:00 p.m. Pastor Kevin Thompson of Community Bible Church in Fort Smith will officiate. Pallbearers are: Stephen Carter, Doug Cooke, Craig Floro, Doug Grimm, Shannon Smedley and Aaron Windsor.

Memorial donations may be made to the Fort Smith Children’s Emergency Shelter and the Salvation Army.

Online condolences may be sent to www.edwardsfuneralhome.com