Born: October 04, 1921
Died: January 12, 2014
Alice passed away peacefully on Sunday, January 12, 2014 following a long affliction with Alzheimers, COPD, and recent pneumonia (“Oh, I only smoked a couple of years and only less than a half a pack a day!”). Parents were James H. Jule and Emma Linder of Bellingham, WA. Alice kept very fond memories of her father, and confessed, “I was his favorite.” She attributed “my mother's prayers” to her many blessings in this life. Alice raised 3 boys, doing her best through times of hardship. After husband Warren Quade of Spokane died of heart disease, Alice married Stanley Rhoads of Spokane. They were contented partners for 28 years and Stanley actively resides at Royal Plaza Retirement Center in Spokane. Alice and Stan were very active in the Sons of Norway, Fraternal Order of Eagles, the Model T Club, the Hassie Club and the Horseless Carriage Club. Alice was especially known for her jokes and entertaining stories and pranks. She seldom missed an opportunity to enjoy tours of the entire US and several times abroad. She filled close to 100 large scrapbooks with her excellent photography and memorabilia to share. Alice was a true “antiquer” and reveled in going “junkin'”. Her entire home was furnished in antiques and collectibles which she proudly shared with frequent guests. Alice was never happier than when working in her large and beautiful yard. It was rich with trees, shrubs, and flowers she had planted. Alice was very accomplished at crocheting and in later years became very good at Brazilian Embroidery. She is survived by her husband Stan Rhoads, stepson Dennis Rhoads, sons Jay, Jerry, and Russell Rice, sister Myrtle Thompson and various grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and stepchildren Mike, Loren and Laura Quade (Bouillard). A Memorial Service will be held for Alice on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 3:00 PM at Heritage Funeral Home.
(Alice was featured in the Spokesman Review when they were doing articles about the achievements of “ordinary women”. This is the text from the article that ran in the Spokesman Review in 2006 and was originally written by Cheryl-Anne Milsap.)
Alice Rhoads was a single mother in the 1940’s and 50’s, a time when single-parent households weren’t very common. Facing shortages and rationing during World War II, she struggled to keep food on the table and to provide a stable home for her children.
After graduating from Bellingham High School, and attending Western Washington College of Education for one year, Rhoads married at age 20. Two baby boys came along fast. The marriage wasn’t a good one, and ended shortly before the birth of her third son. That wasn’t the way she had planned her life to go. She had expected to be just another housewife, busy with children and married to a good provider. Faced with having to support her family, Rhoads went to work while her mother cared for the boys.
Her first job, as for so many women during World War II, was at the Boeing plant in Bellingham. Working the night shift, Rhoads made good money-$1.50 an hour-and things were stable.
But that all changed dramatically the day the war ended. “I watched the sailors come out of the tavern celebrating,” Rhoads said. “And then we were told that our jobs were over.” The men were coming home.
Rhoads found another job, this one at a children’s clothing factory, but for only half the pay. “All I could get was 75 cents an hour, she said. “That was hard time.”
As a single mother at a time when anything other than the two-parent family was an anomaly, Rhoads worked long hours, often for low pay. She learned to make do. She bartered both skills and time with friends and family.
When a niece needed a job and a place to live, Rhoads took her in: “She took care of the boys for me, and I paid her what I could.”
Rhoads found a little house across the street from the elementary school and approached the owner. “I told her my circumstance, and she let me have it for $25 a month,” she said. “We stayed there for years.”
Determined that she wouldn’t go on public assistance-“I’d seen the way the children in other families who got assistance were treated”-Rhoads got help from her family.
“My folks in Bellingham had a cow, a garden, chickens and eggs,” she said. “But there was no support outside of family.” She worried that her boys were missing the benefit of a male role model, so Rhoads worked out a deal with a friend of the family. “My father told me to get the boys interested in fishing and that would keep them out of trouble, out of taverns,” she said. “I tried to take them, but it was hard. I had the baby and needed to be home doing things.” She found a friend to help her.
“A man who had been a friend of my husband’s, who had two daughters, took my boys fishing.” She said. “He said he like having someone to talk to.” Rhoads provided her own service to the man’s family. “I could sew, so I made dresses for his little girls,” she said.
In search of a better life, Rhoads took a job at a pulp mill. For the first time, money wasn’t a problem. She worked the swing shift, making $2.80 an hour grinding cardboard into a fine, powdery dust called “flock.” The flock poured down long chutes and into large paper bags that were then sewn shut. For a while, life was a little easier.
The family moved to Eugene, Oregon and Rhoads took a job at the Elks Club. After 20 years of being alone, she met and married Warren Quade. The couple returned to Spokane, Quade’s hometown.
Quade liked old automobiles and started restoring a 1915 Model T. He joined a car club and made friends of other enthusiasts. “My husband was always looking for parts for his car, so I got interested in other things, “ Rhoads said. “I liked old, interesting things.”
When he brought home an antique baby’s high chair and an elaborate brass light fixture he had found in a barn, she was hooked. She started collecting, too.
After two years, when Rhoads’s youngest son was a senior in high school, Quade was offered a job in Atlanta, and the family moved. “For the first time in my life I didn’t have to work,” Rhoads said. “I didn’t have responsibilities, and I didn’t have to worry about money.
But the habits of a lifetime were hard to break. She was a worker, and her husband traveled with his job. So she looked around for something to do. “I had a friend who worked for Reliance Electric, and she brought home some of the tools,” Rhoads said. “She showed me how to use them.” The next day, Rhoads interviewed for a job as an electrician.
“When I picked up the tools and showed the man I knew how to use them, he said ‘Can you start tomorrow?’” And she did.
For 17 years, Rhoads wired nuclear power plants across the Southeast. “I loved it. I really did,” she said “I didn’t have to work. I did it so I could travel and could buy what I wanted.”
What Rhoads wanted was furniture. She had fallen in love with the heavy, golden oak furniture that had been so popular when she was a child. With a little disposable income, and her husband at her side, she scoured flea markets, antique shops and auctions across the South and rescued pieces. She refinished everything herself.
“See, my husband could fix anything,” she said. “I could bring home a table that was missing a leg, and he could repair it so well you would never know.”
Looking forward to one day returning to Spokane, the couple bought furniture, fixtures, architectural elements like old heart-pine doors and a tall fireplace mantel, and began to design a home to hold it all.
Quade built kitchen cabinets and created stained-glass windows for the rooms and the wide front door. His daughter in Spokane found the perfect lot off Indian Trail, and he and Alice looked forward to moving back to build their dream home after his retirement.
But Quade had heart disease and had a valve replaced. It weighed heavily on his mind. “He used to say to me, ‘If anything happens to me, I want you to go ahead with the house,’” Rhoads said. “There is so much of me in it.”
In 1983, Quade died of a heart attack. Still grieving, Rhoads did as her husband had requested and built the house they had designed together. In June 1984, the antiques and unique items the couple had collected, along with the cabinets Quade had built for the new house, were loaded into three trucks and moved to Spokane.
That September, lonely and looking for a way to get out of the house for a while, Rhoads went to the Spokane Interstate Fair. She ran into Stan Rhoads, one of her late husband’s antique car buddies. He invited her on a day trip with more of Quade’s friends, and she accepted.
The pair married the next year, and Stan Rhoad’s great-grandmother’s bedroom suite joined the other antiques in the house. They’ve spend the past 21 years in the house Rhoads planned with her late husband. They’ve build a fine life together.
“We’ve traveled all over,” Stan Rhoads said. “We even took dance lessons.”
Sitting at the kitchen table, surrounded by the cabinets built by her late husband, photos of their children and grandchildren and the beautiful antiques they discovered and restored, Alice Rhoads looked at Stan and smiled.
“When you’re just starting out in life, you think it will all be easy and wonderful,” she said. “But that isn’t always how it works.” He nodded and shrugged his shoulders. “But, you know, it all worked out. I raised three fine boys who are all good men,” she said. “If everything I had to go through before paid for what I’ve got now, it was worth it.”
It doesn’t always take a lot of money to find a treasure. But it does take a good eye. Alice Rhoads has a good eye.
When a new job took her to the Atlanta area in the 1970’s, Rhoads took advantage of the fact that most people at the time were looking for mahogany. Rhoads liked the look of old oak and she talked her way into the back room of shops and auction houses across the south. She purchased pieces that needed a little work and with the help of her late husband, restored her less than perfect finds and turned them into beautiful antiques.
Each room of Rhoads’ Spokane home is testament to her discerning eye. The house is attractively filled with a fascinating assortment of furniture, crystal, china and silver pieces she discovered across the country. With a real talent for display, Rhoads has built vignettes that highlight her collection.
“I always loved to find something that is different, that you don’t see every day,” she says. “And it’s been fun to find a way to show it off.”