JACKSON— Several residents, dignitaries, students, and family members of former Governor James A. Rhodes were on hand for the unveiling of his monument and statue on Thursday.
The ceremony for the unveiling and dedication took place at the Jackson County Courthouse, right next to the memorial site.
Rhodes, who was born in Coalton on September 13, 1909, was said to have always promoted and talked about being born and raised in Jackson County, and held a love for his community throughout his lifetime. Rhodes passed away in Columbus on March 4, 2001.
He had a lengthy political career in Ohio being elected to the Columbus School Board in 1937, Columbus City Auditor in 1939, and Mayor of Columbus from 1943 to 1951. In 1952 he was elected State Auditor. It was while serving as State Auditor that he ran for governor twice. He was unsuccessful in 1954, but successful in 1962.
During his first gubernatorial term, Rhodes began a massive infrastructure project that included construction of roads, parks, colleges and airports.
Rhodes was reelected in 1966 where he served as Chairman of the Midwestern Governors Association for a year and he also served as a member of the National Governors Association’s Executive Committee. Rhodes was reelected in 1974 and 1978 serving an unprecedented four terms as Governor.
The project took several months to complete and much of the funding came from private donations provided by residents and business owners in the county.
The private donations were made by: Ohio Association of Commodores; MACBEA Foundation; Jewell Evans; Bellisio Foods; OPM Metals; Stockmeister Family Fund; Steve Landerman; Steve and Becky Evans; Marguerite Hughes; Fred Daily; Ed and Sharon Armstrong; WesBanco; Eisnaugle Lewis Funeral Home; David Jenkins; James A. Rhodes Leadership Fund; and Robert Howarth.
The dedication plaque mentions the Jackson Historical Society, Designer Mike Stroth, Architect Panich and Noel Associates, statue cast by Alan Cottrill, and constructed by Stockmeister Enterprises, Inc.
The committee who worked to make this project a reality were: Alan Stockmeister, Bob Ervin, Steve Evans, Larry Kidd, Bill Morgan, James Baker, Brad Long, Richard Hillis, Jon Kelly, Fred Mills, Janine Conrad, Dick Crawford, and Richard Moore.
Several guests spoke about Rhodes prior to the unveiling, including Richard F. Hillis, Richard C. Crawford, a personal friend, Representative Ryan Smith, and Richard H. Moore, who is married to Rhode’s daughter, Sue.
The dedication was followed by a reception at Michael’s Ice Cream Parlor.