Norman D. Rhoads, 97, Garden Courts Downtown, 315 W. Garro St., Plymouth, a resident of Marshall County most of his life, died of natural causes at 6:37 p.m. on Tuesday, August 21, 2001, in the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center, Plymouth. He was to many a combination of Johnny Appleseed and Daniel Boone. One of a vanishing generation: proud, honest, hard working and self-sufficient. Norman will be remembered for lots of things, but mostly as being “the perfect father” to his sixteen children, four of whom are deceased. In a 1999 interview, he wasn’t “for sure” how many grandchildren, great-grands or great-great-great grandchildren he had, but he knew there were a bunch. Born on June 19, 1904, in Wabash, Indiana, he was the son of Richard and Lena LaSonde Rhoads. He attended Wabash schools. When he was 14, he and his dad worked for the Kokomo Brass Company. “That was in World War I,” he said. “ We helped make bomb casings.” Norman got married when he was 17: his bride, Hazel Kumley, was 13. After her death, he then married Maudie I. Gaines on Oct. 6, 1953, in Plymouth. Maudie died on May 17, 1991. He was a self-employed licensed tree surgeon and pest controller and had worked in 38 states. Most of his knowledge came from working with woods and reading all he could about them. Years ago he worked for the G&G Grocery. “Chuck” Glaub told him that “no matter what it costs, keep that magnolia tree in the middle of the parking lot healthy.” Norman did until he retired. His boys then took over from him. A man of the earth, Norman made a potion of ginseng, garlic, vinegar and other good stuff that he boiled and drank twice a day. He said he kept him young for over 25 years. An avid fisherman and hunter, Norman last went deer hunting two years ago when he was 95. He loved nature and flowers. He carved beautiful sassafras walking sticks which he decorated with vines carved to look like reptiles and topped with coyote tails. Norman loved telling stories about the old days. About how he and his father used to shell on the rivers, gathering mussel shells that they sold to the Wabash Button Factory. He’d talk about the depression days. Without a job, he was forced one time to steal a bag a flour to feed his family. “ I had to feed them,” he said, “ I had to feed them. My kids were hungry. ” He helped to build the inter-urban bypass in Wabash, doing pick and shovel work for 30 cents an hour. “But that was O.K.,” he said. “ Thirty cents would buy something then.” Norman is survived by four daughters and eight sons. His daughters are: Neppi Harman, Celina, Ohio, Marilyn J. Moreno, Plymouth, Ind., Linda R. and Lester Williams, Walkerton, Ind., and Martha D. and Jack Guerra, Bourbon, Ind. His sons are: Charlie and Ruth Rhoads, Anderson, Ind., Armand and Rachel Rhoads, Tacoma, Wash., George and Peggy Rhoads, Wabash, Ind., Ricky A. and Angie Rhoads, Walkerton, Ind., and Norman T. and Barb Rhoads, Ronald E. and Penny Rhoads, Dennis l. and Rose Rhoads, Darwin W. and Goldie Rhoads, all of Plymouth. Three sisters also survive. They are Willadean Staggs, Lagro, Ind., J Leanell Scott and Ruthetta Jines, both of Ft. Wayne, Ind. Norman was preceded in death by his parents, his spouses, two daughters, Donreatha and Lena Rhodes and two sons, Billy Joe and Dickie Rhodes. Two brothers , Samuel and Emmett and two sisters, Carman and Myrtle, have also died. Visitation with the family to celebrate Norman’s life will be on Friday, August 24, 2001, from 5 to 8 p.m. in the Johnson-Danielson Funeral Home, 1100 N. Michigan St., Plymouth. Funeral services will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 25, 2001, in the funeral home. Burial will be in Oakhill Cemetery, Plymouth. Memorial gifts in Norman’s memory may be made to the Arthritis Foundation.