Frances I. Rhodes of Youngsville, Pa., died peacefully on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, after a long and very full life. She was born in Doncaster, Yorkshire, England, daughter of the late Frederick and Annie J. Henson, and was raised and educated in Great Britain. She became a journalist writing for young readers of the Doncaster Chronicle, and later worked as a news reporter for British publications including the Manchester Guardian and the London Times. During World War II, she met and married U.S. Army Radio Signal Corps officer Maxwell D. Rhodes, coming to America as his bride when the war ended. They settled in Youngsville, where she learned to love the “Biggest Little Town on the Map.” She subsequently wrote in various capacities for local newspapers, including the former Youngsville Courier, Warren County Observer, Warren Times Mirror, and Warren Times Observer.
She had many interests and pursuits, ranging from gardening to genealogy, antiques to archeology, knitting, sewing, reading, camping, hiking and taking “the road less traveled.” She was outgoing and curious, traveling in the United States, Britain, France, Egypt, the Holy Land, Italy, Alaska, Canada, Japan and elsewhere.
Faith, marriage and family were Frances’ priorities. She described herself as very lucky, leading a charmed life, and was certain that “everything works out” in the end. Further, she believed strongly that individuals depend on community to survive and prosper, and that what you do reflects not only on yourself, but on your family and community. She demanded that her own life be constructive and have a sense of purpose, high standards and adventure. To that end, she was involved in many civic activities and organizations, including UNICEF, PTA, Eastern Star, the Coudersport Consistory’s Passion Play, the Brokenstraw Grange, March of Dimes, Youngsville Public Library, League of Women Voters and the Youngsville Home Rule Charter Committee. She donated to many charities.
She was a member of the original Youngsville Recreation Commission, the Youngsville Zoning Board and the Revitalization of Youngsville (ROY) committee. In 1963, she was a member of the Youngsville Sesquicentennial Committee and wrote and directed a pageant celebrating the town’s history for that event. She worked on the project to erect a monument to recognize Matthew Young, the town’s founder. She led a Girl Scout troop, was a member of Brokenstraw Garden Club, the Warren County Genealogical Society and the Warren County Historical Society. She and her husband took their children and participated in an archeological “dig” in the Kinzua valley to document early habitation there before the area was flooded for the Kinzua Dam and Reservoir. She was a member of and volunteer tutor for the Warren County Literacy Council, a volunteer at the Rouse Home and served on the Warren County HiEd Board.
She was appointed and then elected District Justice in Youngsville and served as the magistrate there from Jan. 5, 1976, until retiring on Dec. 30, 1983. On June 13, 1992, she was presented with the Community Service Award by the Mayor and Borough Council of Youngsville, in recognition of her many years of dedicated service to the Brokenstraw Valley Community. On April 3, 2007, she received the Community Spirit Award at the United Fund of Warren County Torchlight Campaign appreciation luncheon.
Frances was a founding member of St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church, Youngsville, serving as a member of the choir, altar guild, women’s guild and parish vestry, and as a lay reader and lay Eucharistic minister. She also attended Trinity Episcopal Church, Warren. She was a member of the Episcopal Church Women, and served the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania in many capacities, including as a member of Diocesan Council and the Commission on Ministry, and as delegate to the national General Convention of the Episcopal Church. She was a cofounder and editor of “Forward,” the diocesan newsletter. She served on the board of the Episcopal Cottage at Chautauqua Institution and made her last visit there this past summer.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Maxwell, and her brother, Alan. Surviving are three daughters: Elaine Rhodes of Warren; Lynette Williams and husband, the Rt. Rev. Arthur B. Williams Jr., of Euclid, OH; and Yvonne Harrold and husband, James Harrold, of Euclid, OH. Also surviving are six grandchildren: Suki Nelson and husband, Patrick McGhen, of Pittsburgh; Benjiro Nelson and wife, Kristina Johnson, M.D., of Charlottesville, VA.; Taiji Nelson of Pittsburgh; David Harrold and wife, Joan, of Longmont, CO.; Zoe Harrold of Seattle, WA; and Andrew Harrold of Euclid, OH; and one greatgrandson, Cody Harrold of Longmont, CO.
The Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania, presided at a celebration of her life and ministry at a requiem Eucharist on Saturday, Oct, 26, 2013, at St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church, Youngsville. The Rev. Canon Brian S. Reid was the homilist and The Rev. Larry Scofield officiated. Andrew and Pat Pollard provided music. Burial followed in the family plot at Youngsville Cemetery.