Robert B. Rhoads ’45

OLD TOWN – Robert B. Rhoads, 92, passed away November 2, 2017, at his home, surrounded by his family. He was born in Portland, July 24, 1925, the son of Michael Loving Rhoads and Cornelia Elizabeth (King) Rhoads.

Bob lost his parents at the age of 17 and decided to leave school his senior year to attend Maine Maritime Academy. This was during WW II when a rapid build-up of US Merchant Marines was required, with a critical need for engineering officers. Bob graduated in 1945 ready to serve his country on a merchant ship, but WW II ended that Spring. He sailed summers as a 3rd Engineer on merchant ships, while attending the University of Maine. He graduated in 1950 with a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering, and in 1951, a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Bob met the love of his life, Phyllis Ann Paul, while in college, and they married on February 21, 1948. Upon graduation from the University of Maine, Bob accepted a position in Detroit, Michigan, at a farm equipment manufacturing plant. He moved his wife and newborn daughter to Michigan, where they lived for one year, before returning to Maine to accept a teaching position at the University of Maine and raise a family. He began his career as a Professor Emeritus of Bio-Resource Engineering and later became Associate Dean Emeritus of Resident Instruction.

Bob was a dedicated advocate for his students and was admired and respected by students and colleagues alike. He was always active in the UMaine community, serving as an advisor to Alpha Gamma Rho AgriculturalFraternity, establishing Maine Ag in the Classroom, and helping to found the Page Farm Museum. Bob was always willing to open his home to international students during school breaks and holidays. There was always room for one more at the Rhoads table.

Bob was raised with a love of farming. He spent his summers as a child on his mother’s farm in Kentucky. This led him to want to give his children the same experience. He and Phyllis purchased a 140- acre horse farm in Old Town, which they transformed over the years into the beautiful Rhoads End Farm. It was here that they would raise their family. Bob’s family was everything to him. He worked hard to provide the best life he could for his wife and four daughters. He taught his daughters the value of hard work. For Bob, it was important to always do your best in everything you do in life. He also taught them the importance of giving to others. Bob would give the shirt off his back to someone in need. Bob was an active member of the Orono United Methodist Church, where he gave back to his community through many types of service.

In addition to Phyllis, his beloved wife of 69 years, are daughters, Cornelia Rhoads, Ruth Rhoads-Vigue, Alecta Rhoads- Doyle, and Alesia Rhoads Higgins; grandchildren Rob Rhoads, Stephanie Mclean, Elizabeth Vigue, Jamison Rhoads-Doyle, Collin Rhoads-Doyle, Lauren Higgins and Nicholas Higgins; great-grandchildren Charlotte Rhoads, Emerson Rhoads, Michael Mclean, and Madison Mclean.

There will be a private burial in Portland at a later date.Condolences to the family may be expressed at