The house where Dr. Harry Rhodes lives was built in 1876 and overlooks Queenstown Creek with a view straight out to the Chester River. The sunroom is large yet cozy, private but inviting. Books and papers, pads and writing instruments, share space with mementos from a life of hard work, service to the community, family, and world travel.
Feels like a friendly place to learn a few things.
Harry Rhodes was born, “so my mother said”, on November 23, 1914, to an existence typical of family- owned Eastern Shore farms of the early 20th century.
The farm was called Beverly. The Rhodes family raised hogs, sheep, beef cattle and milk cows, chickens, turkeys, and ducks. They grew corn and wheat, later soybeans. Harry remembers a disciplined, but happy life there. “You learned early you have to carry your side of the burden in life and were expected to do so,” Harry says. “We never had much money, but we ate well and wore good clothes.” He’s solemn when he speaks of the Depression era, “We were better off than many.”
Harry graduated from Centreville High School in 1931.
Harry was academically prepared, but college, costing about $525 a year back then, was unaffordable. Fortunately, a friend of his dad’s was an administrator at Washington College. Harry enrolled in a program that allowed him to work his way through.
After college, he landed a teaching job in Montgomery County where he met Elizabeth Creighton Jones at a barn dance. They married in August of 1938 and were together until Creighton passed in 2009.
Despite a short break to help fight World War II, Harry excelled and advanced in his profession. He also continued his own education, obtaining his Masters in 1948, and later his doctorate. In 1952, Harry and Creighton moved back to Queenstown when he was offered and accepted the position of Queen Anne’s County’s Superintendent of Schools.
The county school system was modernized under Dr. Rhodes. He oversaw initiatives as diverse as the construction of new schools, creating music programs, and providing better qualified bus drivers. A compelling public speaker, many positive changes were dragged to realization solely on the power of Dr. Rhodes eloquent and determined vision.
In the 1960’s Dr. Rhodes was a driving force behind successful efforts to build a centralized county high school.
He helped found Chesapeake College
He led through the volatile days of desegregation.
A cause close to his heart since his early teaching experiences led to the creation of our county’s first program to provide education for mentally challenged children.
Dr. Rhodes firmly believes everyone should have a real chance in life and he‘s a champion of those others may have written off. Harry has been involved with the Chesterwye Center and Foundation since that organization’s inception.
After stepping down from his county position in 1967, Dr. Rhodes served five years as Anne Arundel Community College Dean of Faculty before officially retiring.
Faith and service have been “vital” to his life. Dr. Rhodes has been director or board member of many civic organizations including Easton Memorial Hospital. He’s a Century Club Member of the Delmarva Council of Boy Scouts of America and an honorary member of the Queenstown Volunteer Fire Department. He’s Director Emeritus of Queenstown Bank.
Dr. Rhodes has authored two books, Queenstown: The Social History of a Small American Town and the memoir Country Boy Grows Up – Harry in the Nineteen Hundreds.
A local bookshelf without them is incomplete.