Cecil and his younger brother, Leo Rhode, were born in Mohall, Renville County, North Dakota. In the Spring of 1909 the family moved to a homestead near Philomath, Benton County, Oregon. Unfortunately their father, Ernest Edison Rhode, died Mar. 21, 1915. His widow, Nettie Mehalia Culver moved the family to Eureka, Kansas where the boys attended school. Cecil graduated from Eureka High School in 1922 and Leo in 1928. During part of their high school years, Cecil and W.E. 'Diz' Sears (William Edwin Sears 1905-2003) roomed together in the White Building at 2nd and Main, currently known as the McCarthy Building.
During this time Cecil became employed at Carter Jewelry, first as janitor and errand boy, but soon the store owner, W.H. Carter (Washington Herbert Carter 1876-1948), began teaching him to repair timepieces and Cecil became an expert watchmaker. Later, Leo also learned the watchmaking trade at Carter's. After leaving Eureka, Cecil panned for gold in Colorado then moved to California and worked at watch repairing.
In 1933, the brothers went to Alaska and spent the summer sailing a skiff from Ketchikan to Haines, a distance of more than 600 miles. They were so enamoured with the country that they persuaded their cousin, Clarence Rhode, to join them in 1935 for a float trip down the Yukon River. They sustained themselves by living off the land, killing game, digging clams and fishing.
Cecil settled in Kenai Peninsula, built a log cabin at Cooper Landing, and became interested in wildlife photography. During World War II, while film was unavailable, he went to Seattle and worked in the instrument division of Boeing. At the war's end, he returned to Eureka for a few weeks to visit his mother, Nettie Estes, and other relatives and friends.
In 1946, he married a lady he had met while in Seattle and they went to his Alaska cabin. For the rest of his life, Cecil supported his family with his photography. His work appeared in magazines such as National Geographic (August 1954) and Sports Afield (June 1964). He also was a cinematographer employed by Walt Disney to shoot nature films in Alaska. Many times he toured the US in the winter months showing his films, and on one occasion in the late 1940s he stopped briefly in Eureka and while here he entertained the Men's Fellowship Class of the Congregational Church with his Alaska wildlife movies. He was once a director of the Izzak Walton League, the Alaska Conservation Society, a member of the Explorers Club of New York, as well as other conservation organizations. His wife, Helen, also became a photographer and has work published in Outdoor Life, the Alaska magazine and other publications.
Cecil died at his cabin in 1979, leaving his wife and a son. Cecil Rhode Mountain, across Kenai Lake from his homestead, near the Kenai River, was named in his honor.
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Cecil is 16 degrees from Elinor Glyn, 22 degrees from Frances Weidman and 18 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.