Member Biography

James J. Rhoades 

Sessions Office Position District Party
1981       29 Republican
1982       29 Republican
1983       29 Republican
1984       29 Republican
1985       29 Republican
1986       29 Republican
1987       29 Republican
1988       29 Republican
1989       29 Republican
1990       29 Republican
1991       29 Republican
1992       29 Republican
1993       29 Republican
1994       29 Republican
1995       29 Republican
1996       29 Republican
1997       29 Republican
1998       29 Republican
1999       29 Republican
2000       29 Republican
2001       29 Republican
2002       29 Republican
2003       29 Republican
2004       29 Republican
2005       29 Republican
2006       29 Republican
2007       29 Republican
2008       29 Republican


12/05/1941 - 10/18/2009

James J. "Jim" Rhoades, Sr. (R29) Carbon, Monroe (Part) and Schuylkill Counties, 1981- 2002 (R29) Berks (Part), Carbon (Part), Lehigh (Part), Monroe (Part), Northampton (Part), and Schuylkill Counties 2003-2009

Early Life:

James J. "Jim" Rhoades, Sr., born December 5, 1941, Waterbury, New Haven County, Connecticut; son of Earl and Stella Krankowski Rhoades; Mahanoy City High School, 1959; East Stroudsburg University (B.S.), 1964; Lehigh University (M.Ed.), 1966; graduate studies, Bloomsburg University, East Stroudsburg University; married, Mary Edith Holland; children, Alisa Rhoades Hobbs, James J. Rhoades Jr., Michael D. Rhoades; teacher, football coach, Pottsville High School, Mahanoy City High School; principal, Mahanoy Area Junior High School; unsuccessful campaign Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, 1978; elected, Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1981-2008; died, October 18, 2008 (aged 66), Allentown, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania; interment Saint Canicus Cemetery, Mahanoy City, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. 

Early Career:

Teacher, football coach, Pottsville High School, Mahanoy City High School; principal, Mahanoy Area Junior High School.

Professional titles; business ownership; board memberships; local government; club memberships:

Member, Lions Club, Travelers Protective Association Post Q, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Lodge 695, Humane Fire Company, all of Mahanoy City, Schuylkill County Sportsman’s Association, Phi Delta Kappa, Schuylkill County Chapter National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame, Jerry Wolman Chapter Sports Hall of Fame, National Rifle Association, Ancient Order of Hibernians in America Incorporated, Saint Canicus Chapter.

Pennsylvania Politics:

Unsuccessful campaign Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, 1978

Elected, Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate, 29th district, Carbon, Monroe (Part) and Schuylkill Counties, 1981- 2002, Republican, Pennsylvania State Senate, 29th district, Berks (Part), Carbon (Part), Lehigh (Part), Monroe (Part), Northampton (Part), and Schuylkill Counties, 2003-2009; Special Committee on Interscholastic Athletics, 1999; co-chairman, Coal Caucus; member, Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), State Board of Education, Education Committee of States, Mining and Reclamation Advisory Board; committee assignments, Appropriations, Education (Chairman), Environmental Resources and Energy, Law and Justice, Transportation; served until his death, October 18, 2008; posthumously re-elected 64%, vote, meaning, special election would be held for his seat; March 3, 2009, Republican State Representative Dave Argall 62% Democratic opponent, Schuylkill County Clerk of Courts Steven Lukach, 38%.


Cousin, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, former bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, current bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.   

Daughter, Ali Rhoades, married Christopher Hobbs, son of former Senator Fred Hobbs, 29th district 1967-1976. 

Son, Michael D. Rhoades, current men's basketball head coach, Pennsylvania State University; former men's basketball head coach, Virginia Commonwealth University, Rice University.

Died, hospital, October 18, 2008, day after an automobile accident near Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania, Monroe County. En route to a Pleasant Valley High School football game. His wife, Mary, also injured in the crash. Thomas Senavitis was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence and causing the accident with a blood alcohol level of 0.355%, over 4 times the Pennsylvania state limit of 0.08%. 

"Jim's passing is a tremendous loss for Pennsylvania," Gov. Ed Rendell said in a statement. "He was a great person and a tremendous fighter for schoolchildren in the commonwealth. He tried to work across the aisle. Public education has lost its champion in the state Senate. "I was looking forward to having Jim in the state Senate as a strong advocate for education for years to come."  


Cox, Harold. "Senate Members "R""Wilkes University Election Statistics Project. Wilkes University. 

The Pennsylvania Manual, (1999-2000). Crowell, G.; Secretary, Department of General Services. (Volume 114) Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pages 3-37, 3-41; Biographies of Members of the Senate, page 3-20.

The Pennsylvania Manual, (2007-2008). Trostle, S., (Editor). (Volume 118). Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, page 3-34, 3-40. Biographies of Members of the Senate, page 3-21.

Pennsylvania General Assembly. SENATE RESOLUTION 6 P.N. 105 (

Pennsylvania General Assembly. 2005-01-04. Sj20050104.pdf (

Pennsylvania General Assembly. 2008-11-20. Sj20081120.pdf (

Obituary: James J. Rhoades / Longtime legislator played key role in education | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Senator James J. Rhoades (1941-2008) - Find a Grave Memorial