Community Remembers Former Hartland Township Supervisor Don Rhodes as 'Peacemaker'
Funeral services, burial held Monday for longtime community figure who was 83.
At the bustling corner of Hartland and Highland roads, the marquee at the Hartland Big Boy is one of the most visible in the area — and for several days it was an example of how the community honors one of its own.
In this case, the sign honored former Hartland Township Supervisor Donald A. Rhodes, who was laid to rest Monday following services at Our Savior Lutheran Church. A similar message also adorned the sign outside the main fire station for the Hartland Deerfield Fire Authority.
Matt Fournier, a manager at Big Boy, said Monday night that owners Nick and Jean Shaieb had him put up the sign over the holiday weekend because Rhodes was so well-respected and a regular customer.
Jean Shaieb said Tuesday that Rhodes and his wife Shirley often came every Sunday morning as part of a church group. The two quietly enjoyed wearing matching clothes.
"Very cute couple him and Shirley," she said, adding with a chuckle: "You could tell she dressed 'em."
That laidback friendless and unassuming manner helped him "pull the township together" after a 2002 recall election that divided the community, Shaieb said. A growing community, Rhodes helped pull together longtime residents and the next generation of leadership, she said.
Hartland Township Treasurer Kathie Horning, who also took office during that time, said Tuesday that Rhodes was "a peacemaker." He replaced former Supervisor Greg Bogdanski.
"When he came to the hall it was a breath of fresh air," Horning said. "He brought happiness to the hall, consensus."
For a video of people remembering Rhodes, click in the box above.
Editor's note and correction: This story was updated Tuesday morning with additional information. On Wednesday, the video that accompanied this story was updated to spell Mike Bernardin's name correctly. Bernardin is the fire marshal of the Hartland Deerfield Fire Authority. Hartland Patch regrets the error.