Jack L. Rhoades, 87, was born in Indianapolis on Feb. 16, 1927, to Lola Christine Prather and Vern Rhoades. He married Wilma Jean White on Dec. 24, 1949, celebrating their 65th anniversary this year.
Jack was an aviation pioneer and from 1965 to 2014 owned and operated multiple companies, most simultaneously including a worldwide airline. Seymour Airomotive FBO, Rhoades International, Rhoades Aircraft Sales, Rhoades Aviation FBO, Polestar, LWL, J&R Aircraft Leasing, Paxair and Rhoades Air Center FBO provided worldwide aviation services in Africa, Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and South America, all headquartered in Columbus and Seymour. His interest in historic aircraft led to the purchase of multiple P-51 Mustangs and the rescue and restoration of a B-25 from World War II, which is active in air shows today.
Beyond his passion for flying, he enjoyed and participated in auto racing, boating and deep sea fishing.
Jack was a car owner and entrant in the Indianapolis 500 with Rhoades Racing Team from 1979 to 1982 and qualified in 1980, finishing 16th; 1981, in fifth place with 10 laps to go and finished 10th due to engine failure; and 1982, finished 15th with Chip Ganassi as fastest rookie qualifier. Daytona 500 1976: Sponsored Salt Walther, Cart Events: 1980 to 1983, 23 starts, USAC 1976-79 Silver Crown and Sprint Car events, qualified for the pole at 1978 Hoosier Hundred and finished third at Du Quoin.
Jack had the gift of giving, the heart for caring and the passion for adventure. He will be greatly missed and always remembered as the consummate optimist, loyal friend, beloved father, grandfather and husband.
He is survived by his wife; daughter, Angela (Bud) Robertson; son, Darryl (Kelly) Rhoades; brother, Ronald Rhoades; and grandchildren, Alex and Devan Rhoades of Columbus, Brooke Robertson of North Chicago, Illinois, and Kristen Rhoades of Phoenix.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a son, Aaron Duane Rhoades; and a sister, Garnet Harbart.
Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, followed by a service at North Christian Church, 850 Tipton Lane, Columbus. A gathering at Smith’s Row restaurant will follow for family and friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Myers-Reed Dignity Memorial Chapel in Columbus.
Online condolences may be made at myers-reed.com.