January 1, 1955-July 12, 2018
A beloved husband, dedicated father, generous brother, celebrated lawyer, and faithful friend passed from this world on July 12, 2018 after a brief but critical health episode. “Tom” Rhodes was the epitome of strength, courage, and generosity. He took care of the people he loved, never once shied away from responsibility or duty and always sought justice for those in need of help. Most who knew him will never forget his keen sense of humor, clever wit or rapturous laugh, often even at his own joke. Tom was a stranger to no one, made a friend everywhere he went, was a welcoming and generous host to any but treasured his genuine friendships most of all.
Tom was born in Memphis, TN on January 1, 1955, and lived throughout the South during his childhood and adolescence, but for the majority of his life, Tom made his home in the city he loved, San Antonio, TX. His pride and joy were his two children, Jessica Rhodes (Oakland, CA) and Robert Rhodes (Dallas). He never missed an opportunity to remind them how much he loved them and how proud he was of the people they had become. His dedication as a husband and father was always his first priority. He and the love of his life, Beth, had recently and joyfully celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary. He served as a dutiful brother to his five sisters who are grateful for the extreme generosity and loving care he provided to his late parents, Tom and Carolyn Rhodes, especially during their final years.
Graduated with highest honors from St. Mary’s University School of Law in 1980, Tom had a long and successful career as a civil trial litigator, serving at Lyons and Rhodes for the majority of his career and most recently as managing partner of the Tom Rhodes Law Firm. He was a nationally recognized speaker and author on trial strategy and jury argument. He took pride in his political and social justice work, like his pro-bono representation of the families of 9/11 victims or helping advance legislative change on behalf of his clients. To quote Tom in his own words, “I love what I do.” His passion for the law led him to serve and lead within many prestigious law organizations such as SATLA, TTLA, ATLA, Inner Circle of Advocates (Top 100 Plaintiff Trial Lawyers in the US), International Society of Barristers and AAJ. During his distinguished law career, he garnered innumerable honors and accolades including the following: Inner Circle of Advocates 2010 2018, Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year” (4 years), America’s Top 100 Attorneys Lifetime Achievement Award 2017, The Wall Street Journal Best Lawyers in Texas 2017, NY Times Lawyers of Distinction Award 2017, America’s Top 100 High Stake Litigators 2017, and the Trial Lawyers Board of Regents Litigator Award 2015.
Tom was brilliant, eloquent, curious, and a voracious reader. He had many passions in life. He loved entertaining and traveling with family and friends. Tom had a real green thumb and was a true nature lover. He was an avid sports fan and 30 year Spurs season ticket holder. The only thing Tom loved more than winning in the courtroom was winning in Las Vegas. He loved grilling, fishing, his Porsche, the Rolling Stones and his faithful dog Pepper who was by his side until the end.
Tom is survived by his wife Joye Beth Joy, his children Jessica and Robert, his mother-in-law Melba Joy, his sisters Karen Stiteley (Austin), Lynda Rhodes (Austin), Mary Jacobson and husband Jim (Austin), Janet Brown (Houston), his nephews Colin, Patrick and Will Jacobson, Brandon and Perry Read, Clay Joy and his niece Amber Herndon. sister-in-law Kim Read (Monte) and brother-in-law Gary Joy (Terry). Tom was preceded in death by his father, Jesse Thomas Rhodes II, mother, Carolyn Ross Rhodes and father-in-law, Meade Joy.
A funeral Mass will be offered on Wednesday, July 18 at 10:30 am at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church (4201 De Zavala Rd, San Antonio, TX) and a visitation will be held on Tuesday, July 17 from 6:30 pm to 8 pm at Porter Loring Mortuary North (2102 N. Loop 1604, San Antonio, TX).
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to one of the following charities that Tom held close to his heart: Meals on Wheels: mowsatx.org/donate San Antonio Battered Women’s Shelter (FVPS): fvps.org/make-a-donation Family Violence Prevention Services Inc., 7911 Broadway, San Antonio, TX 78209 St. Vincent DePaul Society: svdpsa.org/donate.