Springfield to consider part of Clark Street to honor late kind-hearted resident

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

Rhodes, devoted to family and his church, died in May at 100.

Springfield commissioners may dual-name part of West Clark Street to honor a late resident and longtime city employee who was known by many for his kindness as well as his devotion to his church.

Youlish Rhodes Sr., lived to be 100 before dying in May. He spent the majority of his life in Springfield, raised 11 children and had a home on Clark Street.

The hope now is that the street between Wittenberg Avenue and Plum Street will share his name.

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City commissioners conducted a first reading regarding the proposal during their public meeting this week, where they heard from several of Rhodes’ family and friends. Commissioners are expected to vote on the dual naming during their next meeting Sept. 28.

“We need to recognize and hold up the names of people who contributed to the building of our community. I think this is one way we can do that,” said Springfield commissioner David Estrop.

Rhodes 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 the 1940s in search of better opportunities, according to information shared to city officials by his family.

Rhodes eventually took a job at the city’s sanitation department and worked there for nearly 30 years before retiring in 1989. He purchased his first home in Springfield on Wittenberg Avenue, and lived there for 30 years before buying another home on Clark Street.

Rhodes was known for his kindness and good heart. He also was active in his local church and became a deacon with Restored Life Ministries.

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One of his sons, Samuel Rhodes Rashada, said some called his father “Poppa Rhodes” or “Deacon Rhodes” and that his father’s legacy is strong in the area as he was well known in the community.

Youlish Rhodes’ oldest living child, Gladys Rhodes, said her father was a dedicated father who loved his children and would do whatever it took to help them.

Others who spoke to commissioners during the meeting this week repeated that Rhodes was a good, caring and God-fearing man. Those advocating for the dual name said it would be the best way to honor his legacy.

If the dual name is approved, half the cost would come from those who filed the application while the other half would come from the city.

The request has not received any objections from city staff. The estimated costs for signage materials if the dual naming is approved is $1,000, said City Manager Bryan Heck.

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