Captain Randy Rhode passed away quietly at home on November 29, 2019.
Randy was born June 1, 1941 to Ralph and Margaret Rhode. A native of St. Louis, Missouri, he graduated from DePauw University in June 1963 and was commissioned in November that year at Officer Candidate School, Newport, R.I.
Captain Rhode initially served in USS Leonard F. Mason (DD 852), then after a 4-month course at US Navy Deep Sea Diver School he served as Executive Officer and Diving Officer in USS Moctobi (ATF 105) in the Pacific and Vietnam. After Department Head School he was the Chief Engineer in USS Harwood (DD 861). Ashore Captain Rhode served at Naval Recruiting District Des Moines, Iowa and then as a United Nations Military Observer in Israel and the Middle East. He was the recommissioning Executive Officer in USS King (DDG 41), followed by Flag Secretary to Commander Sixth Fleet forward deployed in USS Albany (CG 10) and USS Puget Sound (AD 38) home ported in Gaeta, Italy. In 1982 he assumed Command of USS Richard L Page (FFG 5) and deployed her to the Sixth Fleet. Captain Rhode attended the Naval War College Newport, Rhode Island, and then served as a senior member of the Atlantic Fleet Propulsion Examining Board.
While his professional Navy accomplishments were significant, they tell only a very small part of his story. After retirement he completed the Troops to Teachers program and taught 6th grade in Virginia Beach Public Schools for ten years. His larger than life presence, voice and love of life were a welcomed addition to any school. He was a man with interests and hobbies as varied as the places he travelled. A gifted musician he was at ease playing country music on his Gibson guitar, drinking good Kentucky bourbon or cheap Italian wine anytime and anywhere. He was a student of medieval history and combined with an artist’s ability to draw and paint, he has adorned many a home’s walls with his works. He put his engineers skills to good use in his second home on the Rappahannock River in Whitestone, remodeling room by room and even adding the Rappahannock Room with friends from Iowa. He added the dock, oyster farm and too much to list. The family enjoyed many a day there and still does. He was a true Renaissance Man.
Randy is survived by his wife of 54 years, Pam; daughters, Peggy Jones (Griff), Jennifer Phipps (Aaron) and Melanie Farr (Scott); grandchildren, Mary Randell Jones, Ellie Jones, Hank Farr and Kathleen Farr; sister, Cindy Cooper (Bill).
A memorial service will be held at 1200 Friday, December 6 at Altmeyer Funeral Home Southside Chapel. Burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to VBSPCA or a charity of your choice.
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