Thomas “TR” Eugene Rhodes, Jr., age 34, of Payneville, KY, passed away Saturday, February 13, 2021, at Baptist Health Hardin in Elizabethtown, KY.
TR was born December 31, 1986, in Ft. Myers, FL, son of Thomas Eugene Rhodes, Sr. His mother, Regina Evans, and grandparents: Floyd and Lorean Evans and Walter and Emilee Rhodes preceded him in death.
TR’s short life was filled with long hard battles. Born with Spina Bifida, TR outlived his life expectancy by over 24 years. He endured approximately 66 surgeries in his battle with Spina Bifida and he knew exactly how many it had been. He survived several brain surgeries, removal of his kidneys and bladder, and numerous stomach surgeries. TR always bounced back with resiliency leading many to his nickname of Superman.
TR was able to walk until the age of 18. Being confined to a wheelchair made life more difficult for him, but didn’t stop him. One of his last surgeries was the amputation of his right leg. When TR was told his leg would need to be amputated he didn’t hesitate to tell the doctors to remove it, saying, “Maybe I’ll be able to walk again.” He was working hard to achieve that goal and was well on his way.
Anyone who knew TR was well aware he didn’t mince words. He was the king of one-liners and didn’t mind telling you how he felt. He could even share those comments by using sign language.
TR, who spent most of his life in Florida, loved fishing there with his Dad, his brothers, his Papaw Rhodes, and his friend, Ivin. When in Kentucky, his sport was hunting with the Rhodes family, especially his Dad and his cousin, Barry. If he could find a participant, karaoke was a favorite pastime. He loved his ink art, (tattoos), honoring the memory of his Papaw Rhodes. In recent years he enjoyed entertaining his young nieces and nephews at Christmas by playing Santa Claus. TR was an avid Gators Football and Wildcat Basketball fan.
Throughout the years he had created quite a collection of knives, cowboy hats, guns, and jewelry. If there was a special occasion, he would proudly be sporting a new tie with his guitar tie clip.
TR was a real warrior. He truly was our Superman.
He is survived by his loving and caregiving father and his namesake, Thomas “Tommy” Eugene (Marie) Rhodes, Sr.; sister, Mandy Harris of Bonita Springs, FL; brothers: Jeremy (Millie) Rhodes of Lehigh Acres, FL and Josh (Alicen) Rhodes of Punta Gorda, FL; nieces and nephews: Archie, Cassie, Savanah, Danny, Raegan, Jackson, Evan, and Kasen; and hosts of aunts, uncles, and cousins.
The family has chosen cremation and a memorial service will be held at a later date. Bruington-Jenkins-Sturgeon Funeral Home is entrusted with the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers please make donations to Spina Bifida Association of Kentucky, Kosair Charities Centre, 982 Eastern Parkway – Box 18, Louisville, KY 40217 or WHAS Crusade for Children, 520 W. Chestnut Street, Louisville, KY 40202.
Online condolences may be made at www.bjsfunerals.com.