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Herbert Neil Rhodes
Herbert Neil Rhodes

Herbert Neil Rhodes

Thursday, February 20th, 2014
Issue 08, Volume 18.

Herbert Neil Rhodes (1918-2014) passed away at his home on Feb. 13 after a brief illness. Neil Rhodes made his home in Fallbrook for 74 years. Raised on a farm near Cherryvale, Kansas by his parents, James Wilson and Gladys McCarty Rhodes, he moved to Fallbrook in 1940 at the age of 22 to work for his brother at Mark’s Garage on North Main Street. (It later became known as Roy’s Garage.)

Neil didn’t waste any time in sending for his girlfriend Ruby Nadine Froebe to join him. She rode the bus from Kansas to Fallbrook. Not wasting any time waiting for California’s marriage red tape, they drove to Yuma to wed on Aug. 14, 1940.

During World War II, Neil was in the US Army Air Corps and was stationed at several bases in England. He served as a driver of a jeep he weatherized on his own initiative, making it the most desirable transportation for the brass and the driver in England’s harsh weather. In his covered jeep, he led a convoy that crossed the English Channel, France, and a pontoon bridge across the Rhine into Germany. He worked with airborne troops salvaging gliders. At Mulun, France, he helped with repositioning three captured German ME 262A’s, the first operational jet aircraft. Neil traveled to Paris to celebrate the end of the war in Europe and returned to Fallbrook in 1945.

After his military service, he continued to work at the family garage until he was hired as a machinist/mechanic for Base Transport at Camp Pendleton. From 1952 to his retirement in 1974, he was the "go-to guy" to get things done on any base vehicle.

After retirement, he enjoyed making motors and other items work. He sold used lawnmowers out of his garage and became known as "The Lawnmower Man."

The Rhodes raised two children in Fallbrook – son Allen Ray Rhodes now of Las Cruces, N.M., (wife Marsha Dell Tolleson Langston), and daughter Rita Nadine East Jensen now of Boise, Idaho. Neil had five grandsons: Tim East and wife Marcy of Phoenix, Ariz.; John East and wife Becky of Glendale, Ariz.; Michael Rhodes and wife Lisa of Lincoln, Calif.; Daniel Rhodes and wife Valerie of Great Falls, Mont.; Dustin Jensen and partner Jessica of Boise, Idaho. Neil had two granddaughters: Jennifer Jensen and partner Sam of Boise, Idaho and Amie Jensen of Boise, Idaho. He had 16 great-grandchildren and a host of nieces and nephews. Neil is also survived by special friends Sheryl Howell and Becky Altringer of La Verne, Calif.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Foundation for Senior Care or the Fallbrook Historical Society in Neil’s memory.

A memorial service will be held for Neil at the First Christian Church, 318 West Fig in Fallbrook on Sunday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. All friends of the deceased are invited to join the family.



Comment Profile ImageDiane Dove
Comment #1 | Friday, Feb 21, 2014 at 10:04 am
Rest in peace, you had a full life.
Comment Profile ImageBecky and Cheryl
Comment #2 | Friday, Feb 21, 2014 at 12:20 pm
We did not know Neil until he started dating our mom, Lois in 2000. You hear all of the time about how good someone is, but Neil truly was an amazing man. We were lucky enough to share Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and so many other holidays with Neil. He made the holidays so much more fun with all of his jokes and stories of living on the farm in Kansas. Neil and Lois’s then husband, Francis built the two houses side by side. Who would have thought Lois and Neil would have seen each other again after 60 years and start dating? Their relationship gave me hope and taught me that love has no age limit and that life does not end just because we get old. Lois was curious how Neil would look with a goatee so he started growing one. We watched that goatee grow and grow and grow. He used to put the Christmas bows on his goatee just to make all of us laugh. That was all Neil did. He just made us laugh. Before Neil passed, he made me promise to watch over Allen and Marsha once we move to New Mexico. He was worried because Marsha was in a lot of pain and needed surgery and he was worried Allen wouldn’t have anyone to help him. This shows you what type of man Neil was. He knew he was passing but his only concern was for his family. We went to see Monuments Men last weekend and I thought about Neil throughout the entire movie and all of his stories about World War II especially the part about Paris. Neil shared story after story of his time driving a jeep for the officers and spending time in Paris France. What funny stories about the lady with blue hair and how Paris helped many soldiers during such a horrible time of life. But that was Neil. He made good out of bad and he loved life. It was important and a privilege to have been with Neil during his two weeks of his illness and being able to say goodbye. I thought for sure at his 95th birthday that he would live for many more years. Neil was a fighter and so strong for being so thin. We all have different beliefs, but I know Neil has already crossed paths with Ruby and Lois. Thank you Neil for letting us be a part of your life. We love you very much.

Article Comments are contributed by our readers, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Fallbrook Village News staff. The name listed as the author for comments cannot be verified; Comment authors are not guaranteed to be who they claim they are.


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