BANGOR, Maine — A former Bangor Daily News bureau chief whose career spanned more than three decades died Monday in Hilton Head, S.C.
Dean Rhodes, a former resident of Presque Isle and later Bangor, died at age 80 after several years of declining health.
According to information provided by family members, Rhodes was born in Martinsville, Va., and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force after graduating from Duke University in 1951.
While on a train en route to his first assigned post at the former Presque Isle Air Force Base, Rhodes met Lorraine Jalbert, his future wife and mother of their four children.
After his military service in Presque Isle, Korea and Washington, D.C., Rhodes embarked on a career in news that began at the Atlanta Constitution and the Decatur News, both in Georgia, continued at the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph and the Presque Isle Star Herald, and concluded with the BDN’s Presque Isle bureau, where from 1958 to his retirement in 1991 he worked his way up from reporter-copy editor to bureau chief.
After his retirement, Rhodes and his wife moved to Bangor, where he lived for several years. After his wife died, Rhodes moved to South Carolina to be closer to his children.
On Monday, Rhodes’ former colleagues remembered him as a hard-nosed, hardworking newsman who loved to chase a good story.
“Dean was an old-time newsman, a stickler for detail and accuracy who enjoyed the rush of digging out a good story and following it until all angles had been exhausted,” said Kent Ward, a BDN columnist and retired associate managing editor now living in Limestone.
“Once he sunk his teeth into an important story he was, to his credit, like a bulldog working a bone — there was no letting go of it,” Ward said.
“His quiet and humble demeanor belied a fierce competitive spirit that served the newspaper and its readers well over many years. His former co-workers will not soon forget the man, nor his work.”
Gloria Flannery, a retired BDN reporter who worked with Rhodes for about two decades, said Monday that she had stayed in touch with him over the years and had spoken with him by phone as recently as two weeks ago.
“We knew Dean expected his reporters to present their assigned stories well-researched and on time. His generous instruction, insight and praise led to better writing,” she said. “At times, Dean did show a gruff side but he revealed a soft heart for reporters’ families and was a good friend.
“Some of Dean’s most relaxed moments came in the camaraderie surrounding the all-nighter collection of national and local voting results when his bureau hosted the other Aroostook bureaus,” she said.
A memorial service will be held this summer in northern Maine on a date yet to be determined, according to Rhodes’ obituary.