Julia H. Rhodes, 77, of Princeton Junction, NJ, passed away on Tuesday, April 18th, after an 18-month battle against cancer.
Mrs. Rhodes attended the Plumfield and Thomas schools in Connecticut, graduated as a Wellesley scholar in 1961, and earned her Master’s in Teaching from Radcliffe in 1963. She wed Dr. Rodman Dunbar Rhodes that same year, and moved with him to Madison, Wisconsin and then to Champagne, Illinois, serving as a high school English teacher in both districts. The couple moved to Princeton in 1972.
Julia lost no time in making Princeton home. In 1973, she began teaching English in West Windsor. In 1976, she joyfully became the supervisor of English and Language Arts Instruction for the Spotswood Public Schools, a position that subsequently expanded to include supervising Foreign Language Instruction. In 2001, she was named principal of Spotswood’s Austin G. Schoenly Elementary School, a post she held until her retirement in 2005. Julia then continued teaching, tutoring local students in English and completing educational consultancies in Haiti and Nigeria. She also co-authored, with her long-time friend Dr. Alice Deakins, an upcoming book entitled The Writer’s Sentence, and could be found reviewing drafts of this publication until a week before her death.
Julia was a devoted member of Nassau Presbyterian Church and of her community. She served as a Sunday school teacher for over 10 years, and particularly enjoyed helping her students organize the church’s annual fundraiser to fight river blindness in Africa. An enthusiastic community advocate, she was president of her neighborhood association. As a patron of the arts, she subscribed to McCarter Theater and the American Repertory Ballet, and volunteered regularly at both institutions.
Teacher, mentor, faithful disciple, community leader, and arts enthusiast; these all describe Julia, and yet do not do her justice. For it was as a friend, sister, and mother that she was the most exemplary. Brimming with compassion, humor, generosity, and intelligence, she cultivated friendships with many around the world, including the Kagitcibasi family of Turkey and the Camara and Sow families of Guinea. Many of the family’s closest friends simply referred to her as “mom.” The hundreds who have brought a problem to her kitchen table, and who have listened to her calmly suggest, “Let’s figure this out,” will forever miss her guidance, laughter, empathy, and wisdom.
Daughter of Albert Spaulding Howe, Jr. and Dorothy Waller Hutchinson Howe of Norwalk, Connecticut, sister to Bert and Tom, Julia is survived by sister, Doria Howe, daughters Rebecca and Sarah, their husbands Fode Camara and Nicholas Stewart, and by grandchildren Julia Fanta Camara and Autumn Dunbar Stewart.
A service in her honor will be held at Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau Street in Princeton, at 11:00 am on Saturday, May 6th.
In celebration of her life and that of her husband, the family is designing a custom gravestone.
In lieu of offering flowers, you are invited to contribute to this more lasting gift by sending donations to her executor, Mr. Kirk Bonamici, CPA, PO Box 6231, Monroe Township, NJ 08831.
May Julia rest in peace, and may her example inspire many for generations to come.
Interment of cremains will follow the funeral luncheon in Princeton Cemetery, Princeton, NJ at 4:00 pm.
Arrangements by Varcoe-Thomas Funeral Home/Central Bucks Crematory, 344 North Main Street, Doylestown, PA 18901.
Send condolences to www.varcoethomasfuneralhome.com