John A. Rhoads Jr.
John A. Rhoads Jr. was born at Samaritan Hospital in Ashland, Ohio on January 20, 1943. He is the eldest of the seven children (five boys and two girls) born to John, Sr. and Jane Rhoads. They lived on a farm and John attended the Savannah School system from the first grade through the eleventh grade.
John’s first introduction to Ashland County sports was in Little League as a twelve year old in 1955. He played pitcher and shortstop and played for Weiss Drugs coached by Dave Davies. He graduated to the Pony League in the summer of 1956 and played for the Archway Cookies coached by Bill Workman. In 1957 John played Pony League for the Archway Cookies coached by Bob Lavengood. He was selected to the 1957 Pony League All-Star team coached by Gaylord Walters. He graduated from Pony League to American Legion Baseball coached (at different times) by Gaylord Walters, Bud Plank and George Bates.
Little League, Pony League and American Legion were all-independent programs developed and coached by selfless persons to give youngsters such as him a place to grow and develop as an athlete and as a person. He shall always be indebted to those folks.
In the fall of 1957, John was introduced to a new sport called basketball. He says this somewhat with tongue in cheek as he was born and raised so far out in the country, he had no idea what a basketball was. He was fortunate enough to come under the tutelage of Ashland County Hall of Famer – Bill Tegtmeier. Coach Tegtmeier helped ground him in basics and fundamentals well enough that during his play time with him he earned first and second team All-Ashland County basketball honors during his sophomore and junior years. He also played baseball for Coach Tegtmeier and Savannah won the Ashland County Baseball Championship in his sophomore and junior years.
John’s parents chose to move to Ashland in the summer of 1960 where he attended his senior year at Ashland High School and graduate from there in 1961. He went out for Hall of Famer George Valentine’s AHS basketball team and earned a starting forward position. He went on to earn second All-Area Team Honors. After the basketball season, John tried out for Hall of Famer Bud Plank’s AHS baseball team. This AHS baseball team became the winning-est baseball team in AHS with 13 victories. They won the first Cardinal Conference championship and the District Title.
In the fall of 1961, John enrolled at Ashland College with partial scholarship to play basketball and baseball. Here he was fortunate enough to play for two more Hall of Famers: Bob Stokes – Basketball Coach and George Donges – Baseball Coach. John considers his college basketball highlights were to play with Hall of Famer Larry Aulger and go to the NAIA Tournament in Kansas City as a member of the 1961 and 1962 teams. From his Ashland College baseball career, John could cite many stories, from both on and off the field The culmination though was that his team won the MOC title in his senior year. This provided Coach Donges with one of his most successful baseball teams.
Of the honors awarded John, some which bring a great deal of satisfaction are: Sophomore/Junior Ashland County Baseball Championships at Savannah; All-County Basketball Selection at Savannah for sophomore and junior years; player on AHS winning-est basketball team and Cardinal Conference Champs in 1961; being a member of the Best in History Ashland College Cage Team of 1961-1962; Ashland College pitcher ranked fifteenth in the country for .85 ERA in small colleges; Pride in representing Ashland College as starting pitcher on All MOC team; Captain of MOC 1965 Championship team and selected as MVP by fellow players; Nominated for listing in “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.”
John married his high school sweetheart – Verda Miller – on January 1, 1963. They were blessed with three beautiful daughters: Loretta – High School English Teacher; Tamara – Beautician and Model; Mary – Traveling Registered Nurse. These ladies and their spouses have presented John and Verda with one handsome grandson, two beautiful granddaughters and four beautiful step-granddaughters.
John worked as a salesman for Tappan Appliance Co., Hilti Fastening Systems and Truss Joist Corp. John and Verda are now retired along with John’s Mother in Savannah Lakes Village in McCormick, South Carolina. They enjoy golf, fishing, playing cards, visiting their kids and spending time in Ashland at Verda’s family centennial farm just south of Ashland. They are looking forward to another major milestone in their life – they will celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary on January 1, 2013.
Nominator: Judy C, Hachtel