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 (R29), Lehigh, Berks, Carbon, Monroe, Northampton and Schuylkill Counties, 1980- 2008

Early Life:

James J. "Jim" Rhoades, born, December 5, 1941, Waterbury, Connecticut, son of Earl and Stella Krankowski; 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; 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; former principal, Mahanoy Area Junior High School; member, Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), State Board of Education, Education Committee of States, Mining and Reclamation Advisory Board, Phi Delta Kappa, Lions Club, Order of Elks, Humane Fire Company #1, Schuylkill County Chapter National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame, Jerry Wolman Chapter Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, National Rifle Association, Saint Canicus Chapter.

Pennsylvania Politics:

Elected, Republican, 29th district, Pennsylvania State Senate, Lehigh, Berks, Carbon, Monroe, Northampton and Schuylkill Counties, 1980- 2008; chair, Education Committee, Special Committee on Interscholastic Athletics; co-chair, Coal Caucus; member, Appropriations, Transportation Aging and Youth, Environmental Resources and Energy Committees; served until his death, October 18, 2008. Rhoades, posthumously re-elected 64%, vote; meaning, special election would be held for his seat; held, March 3, 2009, Republican State Representative Dave Argall.


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, Mike, named, fifteenth basketball head coach, Pennsylvania State University, March 30, 2023, former head coach, Virginia Commonwealth University, Rice University.

Died, hospital, October 18, 2008, day after an automobile accident near Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania, Monroe County. Enroute 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." 

Cited: Pennsylvania Manual, Biographies of Members of the Senate, page 3-20; Volume 114, December, 1999.

Pennsylvania General Assembly. 2005-01- 04.