Long-time resident of Bay St. Louis and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Monti Joseph Rhodes, departed this life peacefully on the evening of Friday, March 19th, 2021 at his home in Pearland, Texas with his wife at his side. He was 72 years old.
Like his mother and father before him, Monti had Alzheimer’s, although his condition was complicated by Parkinson’s disease. His struggles were many, but he showed great courage as did his wife who believed God had commissioned her to love, encourage, and care for him. Great comfort and peace is found in the knowledge that today he is free from suffering and in the holy presence of his Creator and Savior. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13.
Monti was born in 1948, the second son, to Genevieve and Charley E. Rhodes, Sr. of Bay St. Louis, MS. This is where he spent the days of his youth, fishing and crabbing in the waters of the Gulf with his father and brother, Dusty. He enjoyed hunting for rabbits, squirrels, and doves and was recently reminded by his cousin and life-long friend, Jerry Heitzmann, about the guilt they shared in the accidental killing of a cow because of this youthful, adventurous spirit and love for shooting.
In 1966, he graduated from St. Stanislaus where he excelled in baseball. He received a General Business Degree from Pearl River Jr College and continued his education at the University of Southern MS earning his degree in Health and Physical Education in 1970. Thereafter, he accepted a clerk position with the FBI in Jackson, MS, until his love and longing for the Gulf Coast had him return in 1974 to work for the MS State Department of Corrections in Gulfport initially as an investigator for the Parole Board, then as a Probation and Parole Officer and later an Area Supervisor. He earned his Real Estate Broker’s license in 1987 and dabbled in buying and selling land and built his home in Pass Christian. He retired in 1998 after more than 26 years of service to the State of Mississippi.
He married Claudette Anderson in 2001, and in 2007, they moved to Pearland, Texas to be closer to family. Together they enjoyed spending time at home with their pets and visiting with neighbors. Monti took pleasure in surprising his daughters with various projects around their homes, and though sometimes they got out of hand, mostly they were appreciated. Never one to be idle, one of his favorite pastimes was to take a “spin” as he called it. His definition of a spin was going for a drive, himself behind the wheel, which was a daily occurrence necessary for his sanity as well as those around him. On these spins he often ended up at the gym or a fast food joint because he thoroughly enjoyed a cheeseburger and fries and a soda mixed from the fountain, but he really looked forward to dessert. Mint chocolate chip ice cream covered with plenty of Hershey’s chocolate syrup was his favorite; his love for this frozen treat never wavered.
Monti was an immensely kind-hearted man with a gentle, quiet voice. He loved to laugh, and it was incredibly fun to laugh with him especially when he laughed until he almost cried. He was exceedingly frugal yet extremely generous. It was well-known that he proceeded through life with an abundance of caution and prodded those around him to do the same. Many times what seemed like an overabundance of caution did not go unfounded. Once he warned not to put an oven mitt on top of the toaster and, the very next day, his granddaughter set it on fire because his concern was disregarded. He never knew about that incident.
In the summer of 2018, he returned for the last time to the Gulf Coast and Bay St. Louis, the town which forever had a hold on his heart. He was so pleased to see the familiar faces of family and friends he knew well and spend time with them reminiscing.
Monti will always be affectionately remembered by his wife of twenty years, Claudette, and his daughters, Jennifer Gonzalez and Angie Creel. He was blessed with eight grandchildren and was a proud Paw Paw to each. Jennifer’s children are Haleigh Hiatt (expecting his first great-grandchild in August) and Isabelle, Analia and Nicolas Gonzalez. Angie’s children are Hunter, Morgan, Mason and Peyton Creel. He also leaves behind a precious sister-in-law, Mimi Rhodes and nephews Rocky, Brandon, and Jeffrey, a grand niece, grand nephews and many cousins and friends who will remember him with fondness. Monti was preceded in death by his father, Charley Earl Rhodes, Sr., his mother, Geneieve Rhodes (Monti), and older brother Charley E. “Dusty” Rhodes, II.
Please view and sign the online tribute and share your memories of Monti at josephjearthman.com
And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 1 John 5:11