(Ed. Note: A previous version of this story stated that the Vander Plaat-Caggiano Funeral Home was located in Saddle Brook, rather than Fair Lawn.)
Jerry Rhodes, a Fair Lawn resident who previously worked as the director of both the Paramus and the Parsippany Public Works Departments, died over the weekend while riding his motorcycle in Sussex County.
Rhodes, 62, was killed after his motorcycle crashed into a vehicle trying to make an illegal U-turn on Route 94 in Hardyston, according to police.
Hardyston Police said Rhodes was driving his 2003 Harley Davidson southbound when he ran into a southbound 2007 Ford Expedition SUV being driven by 42-year-old Jason DeLeeuw, of Hamburg, Saturday at about 1:30 p.m.
DeLeeuw was issued summonses for making an improper turn and careless driving, police said. Three children were passengers in DeLeeuw's SUV at the time of the accident and were not hurt, police said.
Rhodes was pronounced dead at St. Clare’s Hospital Saturday afternoon, according to police.
Marge Woelk, administrative assistant to current Parsippany DPW Director Greg Schneider, remembered Rhodes as a quiet person who handled a big job. She said that during Rhodes' tenure with the local public works department in the early to mid-'90s , the town made the switch from using private-sector garbage and recycling pickup to the township-operated service that is in place today.
"He kept to himself," Woelk told Patch. "He did his job and did it well. This news is really sad."
After leaving the Parsippany DPW in the mid-1990s, Rhodes worked in the sales department of Fairview-based Cliffside Body Corp. Before his stint in Parsippany, Rhodes spent 19 years as the head of the Paramus Department of Public Works. Rhodes also was a veteran of the U.S. Army who served during the Vietnam era.
Just last year, Rhodes lost his wife, Joyce Fontana Rhodes, to illness. He is survived by their sons Christopher and Phillip, daughter-in-law Melissa and granddaughter, Lilly.
The Vander Plaat-Caggiano Funeral Home in Fair Lawn said it is handling burial arrangements. The family will receive relatives and friends Wednesday 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the funeral parlor, 13-31 Saddle River Road in Fair Lawn. A funeral mass is set for Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Philip the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, 488 Saddle River Road.
The family asked that donations in memory of Jerry Rhodes be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.