Oscar Lee Rhodes II, 62, died peacefully March 21 at his home in Yountville, following a short illness.
Born in California’s San Joaquin Valley in 1950, Mr. Rhodes was the third son born to Oscar and Thelma “Juanita” (Peeples) Rhodes.
He grew up in Manteca, graduating from Manteca High School in 1969, where he was the captain of the football team and class president. Mr. Rhodes attended University of the Pacific in Stockton and Stanford University.
He was employed in San Francisco by Motion Industries as a sales representative for industrial conveyor systems installed across the country.
He married Christy Towner in 1979, and they had two sons. They made their home in Menlo Park and Manteca.
Mr. Rhodes was always active in his community and was the proud manager of the championship-winning Tubbs Electric Fast Pitch Men’s Softball Team from Manteca.
He also started and operated a real estate advertising newspaper in the San Joaquin Valley for a short time.
His considerable cooking skills were acquired from his family and honed by self teaching. He believed his mission in life was to help other people enjoy themselves, and he did this by feeding and entertaining his family and many friends. Memorable occasions seemed to ignite in his presence.
In 1996, he married Sharon Stensaas, and they made their home near Syracuse, N.Y. Mr. Rhodes operated the restaurant and tavern within the historic Lincklaen House in Cazenovia, N.Y. Mr. Rhodes and his wife moved to Yountville in 1998 and started the weekly newspaper The Yountville Sun. He was “the paperboy” for that publication from its inception until his death.
With his sons, he also founded Rhodes Ranch Winery.
For several years he was contracted to serve as a host for corporate entertaining and executive retreats in luxury venues across the country. For a short time, he also operated the cafe at the old Chimney Rock Golf Course.
For many years, Mr. Rhodes served on the board of directors of Hands Across the Valley, a nonprofit organization that raises money to support emergency food programs in Napa Valley.
In a volunteer capacity, he was the self-appointed pool ambassador at Villagio Inn and Spa in Yountville.
Apart from Napa Valley and Manteca, his favorite places were Pebble Beach and Lake Tahoe.
He is survived by his wife, Sharon Stensaas; sons Oscar Rhodes III of Long Beach and Matthew “Towner” Rhodes of Yountville; his stepdaughter, Sarena Stensaas of Loveland, Calif.; and his sister-in-law Lillie Rhodes of Manteca. His uncle, Andy Peeples of Lodi, and aunt, Betty Henderson of Tracy, also survive, as do nephews John, Joseph and Jason Rhodes; nieces Patricia and Paige Rhodes; three step-grandchildren and many cousins.
A memorial service will begin at noon, April 13, at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville. In keeping with Mr. Rhodes’ “style,” attendees are invited to wear tasteful Bermuda shorts and flip-flops, if the weather permits.
The family suggests memorial donations to Hands Across the Valley, P.O. Box 5404, Napa, CA, 94581, or the Napa Valley Center for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Theater, P.O. Box 2675, Yountville, CA 94599.