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Sisters mill manager Leon 'Pop' Forsythe hired Rhoden to help expand the small idle mill in Prineville

PHOTO COURTESY OF BOWMAN MUSEUM
 -  Ward Rhoden became very active in civic affairs and local organizations.Charles Ward Rhoden was born in Carter County, Kentucky, on Sept. 2, 1900. His family moved to Colville, Washington, and he grew up in Colville. When he was old enough to enlist, he entered the U.S. Army near the end of World War I. After the Armistice, he attended business college in Spokane, Washington.

He met Kathleen Dotts in 1922, and they soon became romantically involved. They were married in 1923. Kathleen was born in Indiana in 1903, and her family had also come to live near Colville, Washington. After their marriage, they first lived near a mill Ward was working at near Colville.

They decided to explore further opportunities and moved to Bend in 1924. Ward began working for Brooks-Scanlon at a logging camp. In 1925, he began work at the Brooks-Scanlon mill, learning to grade lumber. Their first son, Jack, was born in Bend in 1925. Ward enjoyed his work, but severe economic decline during the Great Depression temporarily closed both big mills in Bend.

Ward did various jobs but found a steady job working at a mill near Sisters. He met the mill manager Leon "Pop" Forsythe. In 1933, Mr. Forsythe encouraged Ward to move to Redmond at a mill managed by Forsythe. Ward began grading lumber at the mill.

A second son, Lee, was born in 1934. Forsythe and Howard Crawford bought a small idle mill northwest of Prineville in 1935. Forsythe hired Ward to help expand the mill. The mill became Pine Products Corporation.

Ward became general manager of Pine Products and the mill expanded. He managed the mill for the next several years. He became very active in civic affairs and local organizations. He also closely followed local high school athletics. Ward passed away on April 5, 1969.

Shortly after Ward's death, the company established a Memorial Scholarship Fund in his name. Also, a new football stadium was needed, and local organizations and businesses contributed funds and materials to build the stadium and it was named Ward Rhoden Stadium.

Kathleen lived on for several years, and she died in Prineville on June 3, 1986. Both Ward and Kathleen are buried in Juniper Haven Cemetery in Prineville.


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