HILTON HEAD, S.C. – Dean Rhodes of Bangor passed away Thursday, Jan. 28, 2010, in Hilton Head, S.C. He was born Nov. 9, 1929, in Martinsville, Va., the beloved and only child of Claude A. Rhodes and Sallie Lynn Dean Rhodes, who predeceased him in 1958 and 1964, respectively. Raised in the Carolinas, Dean was schooled in a quintessential Southern upbringing, including attending church on Sunday, followed by a Sunday dinner of fried chicken and tall glasses of iced tea. Upon graduation from Duke University, Durham, N.C., in 1951, Dean enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. On a train en route to his assigned post at Presque Isle Air Force Base, Presque Isle, he met his future wife, Lorraine Jalbert of Fort Kent, and thus his fate was sealed. Dean would spend most of the rest of his life with Lorraine in Aroostook County. Drawn to the northern most reaches of the state of Maine along the St. John River, Dean set about learning about a people and culture richly divergent from his Southern roots. He was fascinated by the people there, including many of French Acadian descent and he absorbed their culture, taking it on as part of himself. Upon the occasion of his marriage to Lorraine in 1953, he was accepted into her family, which included eight brothers and two sisters. After his military service in Maine, Korea and Washington, D.C., Dean worked for the Atlanta Constitution and Decatur News, both in Georgia, and Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph, Quebec. Yet, the pristine forests of Maine beckoned to him. In 1957, he returned to Maine with his wife and young child. He worked briefly for the Presque Isle Star Herald, and then began the assignment that made up most of his career, serving as the Aroostook County and Canadian bureau chief for the Bangor Daily News. During his tenure at the BDN, he was awarded the New England Associated Press Award for a series of articles he wrote in 1977, entitled “Crisis in Quebec.” After retirement in 1991, Dean and Lorraine relocated to Bangor. In Bangor, Dean enjoyed spending his free time volunteering for St. Joseph Hospital and indulging in his passion for American history as a docent at the Bangor Museum. Lorraine continued her enthusiasm for gardening, creating a smaller version of her beautiful backyard in Presque Isle. Dean personalized American history for his children by sharing the family stories and memories of his ancestors in the 18th century of the Carolinas within the context of more current events. Drawing his family around his own Sunday dinner table, with snow drifting to the bottom of the window frames, he spun the tales of his Southern childhood to his children, skillfully weaving back and forth between the present and the past, and in doing so demonstrated how world events are transposed as shadows on the wallpaper of life. He left a legacy of oral history for his children to share with their children, thereby imparting a sense of how their lives and the lives of their ancestors are affected by the historical events of our world. Dean is survived by his four children: daughter, Elizabeth Perritt and husband, John, of Wilmington, N.C.; son, John Rhodes of Efland, N.C.; daughter, Margaret “Peggy” Perry, and husband, Christopher, of Hilton Head, S.C.; and son, Robert “Bob” Rhodes and wife, Andrea, of Dracut, Mass. Seven grandchildren also survive him, Meredith, John “Jack” and Elizabeth Perritt, John “Jack” and Benjamin “Ben” Perry, and Joseph and Ryan Rhodes. He is survived by four of his eight brothers-in-law, Maynard, Patrick, Raymond and George Jalbert; two sisters-in-law, Gloria “Peggy” McGreal and Elisabeth “Betty” Pecoraro, all of Maine; many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, Sallie Lynn Dean and C.A. Rhodes of Columbia, S.C.; his mother-in-law and father-in-law, Delia Jadreau and Samuel Jalbert of Fort Kent; and his brothers-in-law, Earl, Ervin, Rexford and Philip Jalbert. A memorial service will be held this summer in Northern Maine on a date to be determined. Memorials may be directed to The Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Library, 29 Second St., Presque Isle, ME, 04769.
Posted Feb. 03, 2010, at 7:24 p.m.