Obituaries & Tributes

Marvin Dean Rhodes – April 21, 1954 – Feb. 14, 2020

Marvin Dean Rhodes – April 21, 1954 – Feb. 14, 2020

Friday, Feb. 14, we lost a gentle, and genuinely kind man, Marvin Dean Rhodes. He was 65. He was a community servant in Medford, from 1974-92.
Marvin was born April 21, 1954, in Eugene, to Cecil and Alice Rhodes. He was 13 minutes older than his twin sister, Marilyn Jean Rhodes. The four of them lived in Creswell until they moved to Brookings in ’57, then on to Gold Beach, followed by Roseburg, then back to Creswell, just before going into the eighth grade. He and his twin sister graduated from Creswell High School in ’72.
From a very early age he was interested in records, radio and television. While his peers enjoyed forts and sports, his fort was equipped with a turntable, a microphone, and plywood call letters KMDR. He and a classmate managed to jump through FCC hoops, and started a local high school radio station.
After graduation, he enrolled at Lane Community College, while working at an FM station in Springfield. His LCC teacher encouraged him to seek full-time employment in the field. So he landed a job as a DJ, at KMED radio, in Medford, where he was very well received by his employers, and his listeners. He thrived and excelled at all aspects of the business, but was especially talented at programming.
Since the owners of KMED also had a television station, they made the smart move of putting him in charge of television programming. He hosted the local segments of the Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethons, every year, while in both radio and television, at KMED. He also served on the Board of Directors of Dogs for the Deaf, starting in ’81.
On March 7, 1981, he married his One and Only, Davona Gibson, who survives. They enjoyed raising their two wonderful children, Brandon and Kathleen, who also survive.
When he was hired as the Program Director of KPTV, (Portland) early in ’93, he continued his key roles of service with both MDA and Dogs for the Deaf. Marvin was loyal and devoted in all things.
In 2003, he began telecommuting with TLN, a religious television network from Chicago. He was instrumental in leading their endeavor of building a huge new production facility in Aurora, Illinois. Brandon was attending U of O, so in spring of ’04, Kathleen Davona, and their two dogs moved to Aurora.
Once the facility was off and running, Marvin accepted a similar position with TCT, a few hours south in Marion, Ill.
Anxious to reside back in Oregon, he accepted an executive position with the Oregon Department of Revenue. He enjoyed the challenges there from 2008-13.
Then it was back to the colder part of the Midwest, where he was the general manager of KEYC, in Mankato, Minn. He thrived as he led that station to heights of success it had never known.
Marvin enjoyed challenging leadership roles, and saw the staff he managed as family, and strove to mentor and nurture employees. He inspired excellence by example and focused training, which drove the bottom line, rather than the other way around.
In the early spring of 2019, a massive benign brain tumor was discovered, which forced an early retirement. The miraculous removal of the Meningioma gave him a quality of life that was more than one could hope for. He and Davona were able to move back to Salem in late August of 2019.
These final months included many rich gifts. Best of all was the outpouring of love and appreciation from so many people who adored him, and his gentle, yet motivated style of management, and way of being in his world.
While in Portland, Marvin volunteered to be one of the Board of Directors of Red Cross and United Way. In Mankato, he was active in many volunteer roles including the Salvation Army and Greater Mankato Growth.
Marvin was a loving and devoted husband and father who enjoyed movies, music and television.
He was a Christian and loved God, in spite of his time in religious broadcasting.
He walked the talk, and his friends and family will miss him greatly.
A memorial service was held on Feb. 21. Memorial contributions are appreciated and can be sent to the Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund and For Keeps Ministries.



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