CANTON Albert Rhoden, owner and president of Rhoden Memorial Home, has died. He was 71.
The Rhoden family owns and operates homes in Canton and Akron.
The Canton location at 729 Cherry Ave. NE, was built in 1992.
Son Tron said Albert Rhoden was a great father, teacher, influence and role model.
"He was very caring," Rhoden said. "Anyone who walked through the doors of Rhoden Memorial Home became family; that was whether it was at the funeral home or he saw them at Giant Eagle. They were family forever."
A native of Bessemer, Ala,. Albert Rhoden moved to Akron in the 1960s, graduating from South High School in 1967, where he was an accomplished athlete. In 2005, he was inducted into the South High Hall of Fame for his achievements on the football field. In 2009 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the South High Hall of Fame.
Rhoden attended the University of Akron, graduating in 1974 with an associate degree in business. He also attended the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science and graduated 1981. He became a licensed director in 1982 and a partner in the Turner-Rhoden Funeral Home. He became sole owner of the business in 2000.
Rhoden served as president of the Barberton branch of the NAACP President from 1988 to 1992, and was a lifetime member of both the Barberton and Akron NAACP, the Canton Negro Oldtimers, and Phi Eta Sigma fraternity.
Under Rhoden, the Rhoden Memorial Home became known for its Thanksgiving and Christmas giveaways, distributing hundreds of free turkeys during the holidays.
"He taught us to stay together as a family," Tron Rhoden said, "And that business will have its ups and downs, but as long as you do the right thing, serving people, good things will happen in the future."
Albert Rhoden is survived by his wife, Sondra, Sondra Rhoden; children Marcus Ruiz; Tron and Taneah Rhoden, Jibreel and Ann Scales, Sr., daughter, Tarea Rhoden and her husband, Kevin; one brother, one sister, two sisters-in-law, special friends Clarence Kaiser and March Ferguson; 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
"There was a statement he always made to our staff and to our family," his son said. "’Remember to move forward forever, backwards, never.’"
Visitation will take place from 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Canton location, and from 2 to 8 p.m. on Friday at the Akron location at 1101 Palmetto Ave.
Condolences for the family may be sent to the Akron address or visit www.rhodenmemorialhome.com