Portions of West Clark Street to share name of beloved former longtime resident

Youlish Rhodes Sr., passed away in May at the age of 100. He had spent most of his life in Springfield after coming to the city from Georgia as a young man along with his wife Dazzie Rean Rhodes. Now, the street that he had lived on for a number of years will share his name. Submitted
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Youlish Rhodes Sr., passed away in May at the age of 100. He had spent most of his life in Springfield after coming to the city from Georgia as a young man along with his wife Dazzie Rean Rhodes. Now, the street that he had lived on for a number of years will share his name. Submitted

A part of West Clark Street will share the name of a former resident who came to the city as a young man looking for a better life and ended up becoming a well known figure in his community.

After a request from friends and family members, Youlish Rhodes Sr., will have his name added to the street where he owned a teal colored house for a number of years.

That portion of West Clark Street, between Wittenberg Avenue and Plum Street, is expected to be called West Clark Street/Youlish Rhodes Sr., Way in the near future. The patriarch’s photo will also be featured on the street sign.

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West Clark Street between Plum Street and Wittenberg Avenue will soon share the name of longtime former resident Youlish Rhodes Sr. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

West Clark Street between Plum Street and Wittenberg Avenue will soon share the name of longtime former resident Youlish Rhodes Sr. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Caption
West Clark Street between Plum Street and Wittenberg Avenue will soon share the name of longtime former resident Youlish Rhodes Sr. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

“To have a street named after him means so much. It is history. There is over a hundred of us. Grand kids, children, great grands, great-great grands,” said his daughter Wanda Rhodes-Singletary.

Her father passed away in May at the age of 100. He had spent the majority of his life in the city, where he raised 11 children, after moving there as a young man in the 1940s in search of a better life along with his wife Dazzie Rean Rhodes.

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The patriarch purchased his first home in Springfield on Wittenberg Avenue, and lived there for 30 years before buying another home on Clark Street, where he lived until his passing.

“My dad is just smiling down on Springfield right now, just knowing that his overall stay here in Springfield has not been in vain. He has come from picking in the cotton fields to having a street named ‘Youlish Rhodes Sr., Way,” said Rhodes-Singletary.

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Youlish Rhodes Sr., with his wife Dazzie Rean Rhodes. Submitted

Youlish Rhodes Sr., with his wife Dazzie Rean Rhodes. Submitted
Caption
Youlish Rhodes Sr., with his wife Dazzie Rean Rhodes. Submitted

Her father was born in the small town of Sparta, Georgia, where he had to leave school at an early age to work in the cotton fields. He married and moved to Springfield in search of better opportunities for his family.

Youlish Rhodes Sr., had migrated north with other family members, and started working in his new city as a factory worker at Crowell-Collier. He took a job at the city’s sanitation department when the Crowell-Collier plant closed.

Youlish worked for the city for nearly 30 years before retiring in 1989.

He was well known on his route, in which he worked for years, said his son Samuel Rashada Sr., who recalled that many would later call Youlish “Poppa Rhodes” or “Deacon Rhodes.”

Youlish Rhodes Sr., was also very active in his local church and became a deacon with Saint Luke Baptist Church, which is now known as Restored Life Ministries. He was also known for his warm personality that attracted many guests to the family home over the years as well as penchant for walking.

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Youlish’s oldest living child, Gladys Rhodes, said her father was dedicated and loved his children and would do whatever it took to help them as well as the community.

Rashada added that his father was a good, caring and God-fearing man who loved to sing and pray.

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The house on West Clark Street that Youlish Rhodes Sr., lived in until his passing in May. Submitted

The house on West Clark Street that Youlish Rhodes Sr., lived in until his passing in May. Submitted
Caption
The house on West Clark Street that Youlish Rhodes Sr., lived in until his passing in May. Submitted

The idea to have a street named in his honor came from Rashada earlier this year when his father was still alive.

Rashada, who lives in Cleveland, was inspired by a street there named after Steve Harvey. Rashada thought that having a sign with his father’s name and picture would be a fitting tribute.

The family had pulled together years earlier to set up a scholarship fund in honor of their mother Dazzie, who passed away in the early 2000s.

The name change would be a source of pride and honor for the future generations of the family as well as friends and the community as a whole, Rashada said.

Rashada said the name change also serves as a remembrance of not only for his father but his brother Youlish Rhodes Jr., who is also deceased and lived on West Clark Street.

The request for the dual-naming did not received any objections from city staff.

It is unclear exactly when the name change will take place, as the city is working on acquiring materials for the new signage as well as performing another duel naming at West McCreight Avenue.

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