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1928 - 2015

Donald V. Rhoads, M.D. (I ’60)

Donald Vail Rhoads, 86, an internist and an active Philadelphia-area Quaker, died Tuesday, Jan. 27, of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at Foulkeways at Gwynedd.

Dr. Rhoads, of Chestnut Hill, was a graduate of Westtown School, Stanford University, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He served an internship at Pennsylvania Hospital.

He completed a three-year fellowship in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and received his master’s degree in internal medicine from the University of Minnesota in 1960.

A conscientious objector during the Korean War, Dr. Rhoads served his alternative service at Rochester State Hospital.

For many years, Dr. Rhoads practiced medicine as a solo physician from an office in Chestnut Hill. “He loved practicing medicine,” his son Sam Rhoads said. Dr. Rhoads retired in 1993.

In addition to practicing medicine, Dr. Rhoads was a teacher. He held the title of assistant clinical professor of medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught senior medical students in the outpatient clinic. He also served on the staff of Northwestern Institute of Psychiatry and worked as a medical adviser for the American Friends Service Committee.

For 31 years, Dr. Rhoads served on the board of the Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology, founded by his great-uncle Isaac J. Wistar in 1892. He was a vice president of the board of directors of Friends Hospital, the first hospital in this country to focus on the care of the mentally ill.

A lifelong member of Germantown Friends Meeting, Dr. Rhoads served for nearly 20 years on the school committee of Germantown Friends School. He was a member of the boards of Foulkeways and also Stapeley in Germantown, both senior communities.

An avid backpacker, Dr. Rhoads spent most summer vacations hiking with his family, or solo, in the wilderness of the high Sierra Nevada range. At home he was a carpenter and enthusiastic gardener, who landscaped a garden and waterfall, built stone walls, and laid brick paths.

“He was like a lot of Quakers, rigid and strict, but also loving and pragmatic,” his son said. “That came out when he was in the mountains.”

Surviving, beside his son, are his wife, Nancy Shipley; daughters Mary Alexander, Anne Melikechi, Caroline Rhoads, and Nancy Glick; son Wistar Rhoads; seven grandchildren; and a brother. Another brother died in 2009.

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15, at Germantown Friends Meeting, 47 W. Coulter St., Philadelphia. Burial was private.

Contributions may be made to the Penn Memory Center, 3400 Civic Center Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pa. 19104.

Obituary courtesy of The Inquirer.

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