Remembering John J. Rhodes
John J. Rhodes was an Arizona pioneer who left his mark in many ways before he passed away in August 2003, at age 86.
- He had a rich, illustrious political career, representing Arizona in Washington, D.C., for three decades.
- He had a loving, fulfilling 60-year marriage with Betty Rhodes, raising four children, 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
- He made a significant impact in his community, leading important causes and generously supporting needed services.
Among his greatest contributions was making sure East Valley citizens received the best health care. His special passion was the hospital formerly known Banner Mesa Medical Center, located only a few blocks from the family's residence.
When Rhodes announced his retirement from political life in 1982, Banner Mesa sought his leadership in starting a rehabilitation unit. He energetically joined forces with the hospital's administration in developing the much-needed program. He had originally thought about running for re-election, and had amassed a sizable fund of campaign contributions from supporters. With overwhelming support from his donors, Rhodes put the funds toward the rehabilitation program.
The rehabilitation center was named in his honor in 1983. "I'm very proud to be associated with it, because the staff is so good and do things so well," Rhodes told the East Valley Tribune when the institute opened.
When Banner Mesa closed in 2007, the institute moved to Banner Baywood Medical Center where it officially opened its doors on Sept. 10, 2007. Rhodes' wife, children and grandchildren were there for the grand opening.
Rhodes attended the 20th anniversary of the John J. Rhodes Rehabilitation Center at Banner Mesa in the final year of his life. He was ill at the time, and feared he would only be able to manage a brief appearance. Instead, the statesman addressed the crowd of patients, staff and community members at the podium. He stayed for the entire event, greeting guests and meeting patients.