James Rhodes


James (Jimmy) Ohlen Rhodes, 83, of Ooltewah, passed away on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019, surrounded by his family.

He was an extraordinarily talented musician, and passionate about his music. He recorded multiple albums and DVD’s, which earned him a Telly Award in 2008, and an Angel Award in 2004. He can be heard and seen today on the Three Angels Broadcasting Network, Safe Television, and the Hope Channel. He was a gifted keyboard stylist on both piano and organ, and an accomplished brass performer.

Born and raised on a cotton farm in Cottage Grove,  Jimmy’s mother talked his father into buying an old, used, upright piano for $100. She ordered a music correspondence course, learned to play hymns, and then taught her son how to read music and play the piano.

Although he initially resisted being a musician, Jimmy learned quickly, and by the age of 10, he was playing for services, weddings, funerals, and other events.

By the time he was a junior at Collegedale Academy, he had become a proficient brass player and was invited to join the college band.

Following graduation from Southern Missionary College in 1959, with a B.S. degree in music education, he became band director at Lynwood and Orangewood Academies in California. During this time, he started graduate work at the University of Southern California, where he completed a master’s degree in music education, writing his master’s thesis about how music affects people’s behavior. He was a self-made musician, appearing as a guest performer with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra, as well as playing with jazz trumpeter Doc Severinsen of "The Tonight Show."

He has performed in evangelistic crusades, assisting various artists, playing for Faith for Today, Mission Spotlight, Voice of Prophecy, It Is Written, and many more Christian ministries.

Although he started his career as a music educator, he has since been involved in a variety of music-related activities, including professional performance, recording, composing and arranging, accompanying, operation of music stores, and music therapy.

In 1973, he met the love of his life at a camp meeting service, and later married Pam Chanslor, a talented mezzo-soprano. Together they were participants in the Family Reunion Concerts, a series of programs that feature more than 100 Adventist musicians singing and performing gospel music all around the country.

He performed during the grand opening of the very first Life Care Center in 1970, and joined Life Care as director of music services in 1994. As Director of Music for Life Care Centers of America, he has traveled nationwide, performing for events and the residents in its facilities.

Thousands upon thousands have been entertained, blessed, and have been inspired by his talent. His music brought comfort, hope, and encouragement to the hearts of those in his audiences.

His loving wife of 41 years, Pam Rhodes; and his sister, Mary Elizabeth Fletcher, preceded him in death.

He is survived by his children, Deborah Vollberg, Rondi (Michael) Oswald, both of Ooltewah, and Jimmy (Katelyn) Rhodes of McDonald; seven grandchildren, Caroline, Adam and Josh Vollberg, Blake and Olivia Oswald, and James and Jack Rhodes; sister, Ruth Reynolds, of Spokane, Wash.; brothers-in-law, Ron Chanslor, Albuquerque, N.M., and Carol Chanslor, of Oceanside, Calif.; nieces, Melissa Chanslor, and Elizabeth Freel and nephew, Ed (Tiffany) Fletcher.

The family will receive friends on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, from 3 to 5 p.m., at the Collegedale Seventh-day Adventist Church. There will be a private family burial with Dr. Jack Blanco officiating.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, or The Carter Report, 145 Park Lane, St. 200, Moorpark, CA 93021.

You may visit www.heritagechattanooga,com, to share condolences to the family and view Jimmy’s memorial tribute.

Arrangements are by Heritage Funeral Home, East Brainerd Chapel, 7454 E. Brainerd Road.


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment


Print subscribers have FREE access to clevelandbanner.com by registering HERE

Non-subscribers have limited monthly access to local stories, but have options to subscribe to print, web or electronic editions by clicking HERE

We are sorry but you have reached the maximum number of free local stories for this month. If you have a website account here, please click HERE to log in for continued access.

If you are a print subscriber but do not have an account here, click HERE to create a website account to gain unlimited free access.

Non-subscribers may gain access by subscribing to any of our print or electronic subscriptions HERE