Robert Berg Rhode, 104, of Duluth, died Monday August 27, 2018 at the Benedictine Health and Rehabilitation Center. He was born on December 24, 1913 to Sigurd A. Rhode and Agnes Berg Rhode in Duluth. Mr. Rhode attended Duluth Public Schools, graduating from Central High School in 1932. He attended Duluth Junior College and received his Bachelor of Civil Engineering in 1937 from the University of Minnesota. In May of 1940 he married Elizabeth T. Tennant. From that union four children were born. Mr. Rhode was involved in railroad engineering for 41 years, 30 of which were with the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railroad. He began his railroad career on the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis, & Omaha Railroad in St. Paul after graduation. He worked as a chain man. He was employed by Ellerbe and Co., St. Paul; Clyde Iron Works, Duluth; and the Northern Pacific Railroad (now Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway) in multiple field locations from Missoula, Mont., to Seattle, Wash., during the war years. In 1948 he began his service with the Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range Railway where he served as Chief Engineer for 19 years. Major projects during this period included the design and construction of the taconite-handling facility adjacent to the Duluth ore docks; the Two Harbors unique ore thawing shed using infra-red heating; modernization of all old-style bridges on the Missabe; and track upgrades to accommodate current loading. He retired from the D.M.&I.R. in 1978.
Mr. Rhode was a life member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and served on their national board of directors for several years. He was a life member of the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association and served on the committee concerned with the rolling of steel railroad rail. In 1956 he served on the mayor’s task force on development of the major highway plan through the City of Duluth.
Mr. Rhode was involved in the local and state associations for developmentally challenged children and was one of the incorporators of the United Development Activity Center (UDAC) as well as on the Goodwill board for several years when their activity was expanded with the purchase of their present facility. He was a member of the Lake Superior Council of Boy Scouts. Mr. Rhode was a member of Pilgrim Congregational Church (UCC) and a former trustee. He was a member of the Kitchi Gammi Club, Rotary, the Duluth Valley of the Scottish Rite, and the Sons of Norway Duluth Nortun Lodge 1-016.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Sigurd and Agnes; wife Elizabeth Tennant Rhode in 1979; and his brother Richard S. Rhode in 2008.
He is survived by his children Peter (Mary) of Roseville, Minn., Richard (Martha) of St. Paul, Minn., Christopher of Duluth, Minn. and a daughter Katherine (Peter) Cassioppi of Rockford, Ill., 6 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.
Special thanks to the staffs of Mount Royal Pines III and Marywood at the Benedictine Health and Rehabilitation Center for their care and concern for Mr. Rhode.
The family requests that memorials be sent to the Duluth Regional Care Center, 5629 Grand Ave., Duluth, MN 55807, the Scottish Rite Clinic for Childhood Language Disorders, 28 W 2nd St., Duluth, MN 55802 or Pilgrim Congregational Church (UCC) 2310 E. 4th St., Duluth, MN 55812.
Visitation will be held on Monday September 17, 2018 at Pilgrim Congregational Church (UCC) 2310 E. 4th St. Duluth, MN 55812 from 10 AM until the 11 AM Funeral Service, with Rev. Dr. Karen Schuder officiating. Burial will be in Park Hill Cemetery.
Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, 600 E. 2nd St., Duluth, MN 55805. 218-727-3555.