John Rhoads Jr., 89, dies

Columbus, OH — John “Buzz” Rhoads, Jr., 89, died after an extended illness June 10, 2019.

Mr. Rhoads born Jan. 13, 1930, to John and Rita (nee Wellington) and raised in Circleville, Ohio. He graduated from Circleville High School in 1947. He attended Ohio University from 1947-1951 before enlisting in the Army, where he was a member of the Second Army Division.

An accomplished musician, he would go on to play in the Army Dance Band in Berlin, Germany in 1951. Upon honorable discharge from the Army he played in several big bands, such as Dick Buntz and his Orchestra and The Howdy Gorman orchestra across the United States.

Besides playing in the bands he began working for the RANCO Company in Columbus and married Delores in 1955. He worked his way up through the ranks from laborer to plant manager through the years at RANCO. He retired from there in 1976.

An avid golfer, he became co-owner of Riceland Golf Course, purchasing in 1962 with his parents, brother and brother-in-law. He moved to Orrville to assist running the family business, Riceland Golf Course, from 1976 until 1985. He retired from the golf course to return to Circleville to take care of his ailing parents.

Mr. Rhoads was a member of the Elks and the United States Trotting Association. One of the many horses he co-owned, Right Touch, won the 2013 Indiana Sires Stakes final.

He leaves behind his loving wife of 14 years, Frankie; brother, Dr. Donald “Dick” (Marge); nephew, John (Daisy); niece, Wendy (Richard) Weier; great-nephew, Jake; and sister, Hilda Fay (Bootie) Hawk and her two sons, Brent and Brad.

He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Rita; first wife, Delores; brother-in-law, Al Hawk; and daughter-in-law, Laura (Bart) Elsea.

He will be remembered by nephews, David (Kathy) Elsea and daughter, Meredith (Michael) Steimle; nephew, Bobby Elsea and daughter Emma; and niece, Linda (Brandon Smith) Elsea and daughters, Ella and Sadie. They have many fond memories of the yearly golf tournaments at Riceland and other family gatherings in Orrville. He enjoyed their monthly phone calls from around the country.

Mr. Rhoads began a new chapter in his life, marrying Frances “Frankie” Elsea, on May 14, 2005. He warmly welcomed her children into his life: surviving is stepdaughter, Jayne (Jerry) Darfus; grandchildren, Nora (Ed Bachmann) Kline and Joe (Christie Thompson) Darfus; stepson, Richard (Saundra) Elsea; grandchildren, Leslie (Joe) Miller, Dr. Lauren (Stephen) Hurley and Alex (Rachel) Elsea; stepson, Thomas “Bart” Elsea and grandsons, Brock (Shelby) Elsea, Troy (Victoria Mathia) Elsea and Braden Elsea; great-grandchildren that brought much joy to his life, Mariah Arledge, Blaze Arledge, Joey Darfus, Kylee Darfus, Tristen Miller, Ryan Miller, Brylee Rose Elsea, Sloane Hurley and Jaxon Elsea.

Mr. Rhoads and Frankie enjoyed traveling, spending the winter in Florida, golfing and attending the races to watch their horses. They truly enjoyed getting together for the holidays and enjoying time with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held at Wellman’s Funeral Home, 1455 North Court St., Circleville, OH 43113, from 4-7 p.m. on Friday (June 21), with the Elks memorial service beginning at 6:45 p.m. The funeral will be held Saturday (June 22) at 11 a.m. at The Community United Methodist Church, 120 North Pickaway St., Circleville. Burial will follow in Forrest Cemetery with military honors.

Memorial contributions may be made to Berger Hospice and The Community United Methodist Church. Online condolences can be made to

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