Donald Alan Rhodes
Don Rhodes died in Vero Beach, FL at the age of 77 as the result of a motorcycle accident on August 20, 2020.
Don was born in Miami, Florida in 1942. His father Jack Rhodes was a Pan American pilot and his mother Elizabeth was a classical musician. He grew up in Long Island, New York. At age 13 Don’s father died and his family moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Don attended Cheyenne Mountain High School where he played the trumpet with the school pep band. Don left high school on his 17th birthday and enlisted in the U.S. Army (1st Calvary). He served in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Korea and earned the rank of Corporal.
After re-entering civilian life Don enrolled at the University of Colorado, Boulder where he met his first wife Pam. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in 1967 and in 1970 earned his Master of Business Administration Degree at San Diego State University. Don began his professional career in the public sector in the early 1970’s, starting as an analyst with the California Legislative Analyst’s Office in Sacramento where his son Sean was born in 1973.
After a brief move to Boulder, Colorado, where his son Scott was born in l976, the family moved to Carson City, Nevada where he became the Assistant Research Director for the Nevada State Legislature. Don lived in Nevada for 14 years. During this time, he was promoted to Director of the Nevada State Legislative Counsel Bureau and raised his two sons with Pam. As Director of the L.C.B. Don was an energetic and effective change agent. He oversaw several key projects including the renovation of the buildings and grounds, and modernization of the computer and communication systems. He managed logistics for the legislative sessions and organized meetings with the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 1990, Don and Pam divorced and he moved to California.
Don was extremely active throughout his life. He was a skydiver in San Diego and later became an avid motorcyclist and wildlife photographer. His most enduring passion was SCUBA diving; He was a Master Instructor with the worldwide PADI organization and taught diving classes for over 30 years, traveling to dive destinations all over the world. Throughout his life he certified hundreds of divers.
In 2001, Don met and married his second wife (Maria Almaguer). They moved to Simi Valley, CA where Don helped raise Maria’s three nephews (Fred, Sonny and Mason) while employed as a legislative advocate for the Southern California Association of Governments. In 2011, Don and Maria retired and moved to Tavernier, FL where Don pursued SCUBA diving full-time. He volunteered as a PADI instructor and led many dive boat expeditions on the reefs and off-shore shipwrecks of the Florida Keys. He also became a skilled underwater photographer and wrote articles about reefs and shipwrecks for the Florida Keys Free Press, The Reporter, and the Miami-Herald newspapers. During this time he successfully fought off both prostate cancer and lung cancer. After moving to Vero Beach in 2019, Don became a skilled ocean kayaker and bird photographer. In 2020, he joined the Pelican Island Audubon Society in Indian River County, Florida and became a guide for bird photographers on a pontoon boat. Several of his photos were adopted by National Geographic Magazine and won awards from the Audubon Society.
Don lived life passionately and will be remembered fondly for his humor and story telling. He was proud of his sons and grandchildren and enriched their lives with frequent travel and adventures. He certified all of his offspring in SCUBA.
Don is predeceased by his son Scott.
He is survived by his wife Maria, son Sean (Carol) Rhodes, grandchildren (Shannon, Thomas, Rebecca), sister Judy (Conant) Atwood, sister Jean Rhodes, and ex-wife Pam Rhodes (Michael).
May he rest in peace. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him until we meet again.