By Rande Davis
Just three months short of his hundredth birthday, Dr. Harry C. Rhodes passed away. The beloved former teacher and principal of Poolesville High School from 1947 to 1952 was an accomplished person in many fields and endeavors. After departing Poolesville, he became Superintendent of Schools for Queen Anne’s County, the youngest person to hold the position in the state. He was married to his beloved wife Elizabeth Creighton Rhodes for over sixty years.
Born on November 25, 1914, he left his family farm to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland in 1935 and obtained his high school teaching certificate the same year. His first year teaching at Poolesville High School paid $90.00 per month and included coaching soccer. He must have done a good job since he was made assistant principal in 1937.
In 1937, he met his future wife, Elizabeth Creighton Jones of Dickerson, and they married on August 11, 1938. Before World War II, he was the executive director of the Montgomery County Housing Authority. During the war, Rhodes served as an officer in the U. S. Naval Reserves on a minesweeper serving in the South Atlantic and Pacific. After the war, he resumed his teaching career at Gaithersburg High School in 1946 and completed his Master’s Degree from the University of Maryland. In 1947, he was appointed principal of PHS. Even as principal, he continued his love of farming, raising hogs and sheep.
In 1940, Harry became a charter member of the Monocacy Lions Club and was elected second-vice president and served one term as King Lion.
He continued his education and obtained a Doctorate in Education from the University of Maryland in 1960. In 1967, he joined Anne Arundel Community College as Dean of Faculty, a position he held until 1973.
Through the years, Harry served on many important boards and was involved in a myriad of community service programs, receiving many awards of honor. In particular, he is remembered for his service on the Board of Directors of Queenstown Bank of Maryland, commissioner of the Town of Queenstown, and at one time its president. In 1980, he was selected as the Queen Anne’s Educator-Outstanding Citizen. He served on the Board of Eastern Memorial Hospital and as its treasurer, and was one of the founding members of Chesapeake College, serving on its Board of Trustees for eleven years.
Dr. Harry C. Rhodes, upon his death, was especially remembered for his peaceful integration of Queen Anne’s County schools, and as someone who played a pivotal role in the community college movement.