Monday, December 19, 2016

Trancy Clarenton Rhodes (1899-1979)

Portrait from the Arizona legislative composite, 1964.

    A longtime resident of Maricopa, Arizona, Trancy Clarenton "Doc" Rhodes was a prominent business and political leader in that county for many years, having removed to Arizona from Texas. Known by both his initials and the nickname "Doc", Rhodes represented Maricopa County in the Arizona legislature for nearly sixteen years, and during his last term saw his son Billie (1921-1965) win election to the Arizona state senate.
   Born in North Carolina on October 13, 1899, Trancy Clarenton Rhodes was the son of Guy Colton and Mary Green Rhodes. The Rhodes family relocated to Texas when their son was a child and he would receive his early education in that state. T.C. Rhodes married in Texas in January 1919 to Lou Ella Griffith (1903-1989), to whom he was wed for sixty years. The couple's lengthy union would see the births of five children, William "Billie" Clarenton (1921-1965), Richard Samuel, Gerald Austin (1925-1927), Margie Lou and Earl Griffith. Of these children, Billie and Earle would follow their father into politics, with Billie briefly serving in the Arizona Senate and Earl being elected as a city judge in Avondale.
   In 1924 T.C. Rhodes and his family removed to Arizona, where they would reside for the remainder of their lives. The family first settled in Glendale, but later established "a homestead near east Buckeye". Rhodes would subsequently follow a career in ranching and cotton growing in the areas of Goodyear and Avondale, and was viewed by his fellow farmers as having always been "on the cutting edge of farming techniques that led to outstanding crop yields."
   Active in the civic life of Maricopa County, T.C. Rhodes served for over three decades as a member of the Avondale school board and also was a charter member of the Tri-City Chamber of Commerce. Rhodes also attained prominence in a number of fraternal groups in the area, being active in the Kiwanis Club, the Wigwam Golf Club and the Boy Scouts of America.

"Doc" Rhodes, as he appeared in the 1952-53 Arizona legislative composite.

   In 1950 "Doc" Rhodes was elected to his first term in the Arizona State House of Representatives. Taking his seat at the start of the 1951-53 session, Rhodes' tenure in the legislature extended fifteen years (1951-1966), and his lengthy service saw him chair the house committees on Education, State Government and County Affairs. Sources also note that Rhodes was heavily invested in "agricultural and tax matters, and was responsible for introducing much legislation in those areas." 
   During his final term in the state house Rhodes witnessed his eldest son Billie win election to the Arizona Senate from Maricopa County. A former president of the Maricopa County Farm Bureau and Secretary-Treasurer of the Arizona Cotton Growers, Billie Clarenton Rhodes senate term was cut short due to his sudden death at age 44 in 1965 due to a brain hemorrhage
  "Doc" Rhodes final legislative term concluded in 1966 and three years later celebrated his fiftieth wedding anniversary.  A resident of Litchfield Park, Arizona, in the latter period of his life, Rhodes died on June 9, 1979 at age 79. He was survived by his wife Lou Ella, who died in 1989. Both Rhodes and his wife were interred at the Greenwood Memory Lawn Cemetery in Phoenix.

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