Arbie Cook Rhodes

arbie rhodes

February 1, 1931 ~ October 31, 2021

Born in: Jackson County, NC
Resided in: Arden, NC

Arbie Rhodes, 90, of Arden, died Sunday, October 31 after a short illness.

She was the daughter of the late John and Ellen Watson Cook and sister to the late Candler Cook, all of Caney Fork in Jackson County. She was the beloved wife of the late Woodfin Chester Rhodes of Avery’s Creek in Buncombe County. Surviving are her daughter, Judy Ann Rhodes, four grandchildren who lived next to her, David Schultz (Katy), Hank Schultz (Erin), Rae Barnes (Chris), Daniel Schultz (Angie), nine great grandchildren, brother Martin Cook (Ora Blanche), sister in law Jean Rhodes Carter and many nephews and nieces.

Arbie attended a one-room school house in Cullowhee that later became part of Western Carolina University’s Camp Lab School. She was always so proud that her grandmother, Artie Wood Cook was known for teaching people to read in Jackson County. Arbie attended Montreat College and Western Carolina University where she received her Masters of Education in Administration. She was an educator, teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grades at various schools; Swannanoa Elementary, Glen Arden and Valley Springs. She was principal at Biltmore during desegregation and played an invaluable role in bringing communities together. She was then transferred to Valley Springs Middle School where she remained principal for 22 and 1/2 years.

Mrs. Rhodes was a highly regarded member of Delta Kappa Gamma, serving as President of the Alpha Phi chapter and working as a regional director. She received several of their highest distinctions as an educator and was a member of the NEA. She also served on the board of the State Employees Credit Union for many years and worked in the 1990’s to set up housing help for young teachers. Arbie was a strong leader with big hopes for all in our community and was a member at Arden Presbyterian since 1969.

Services will be at 1:00 PM on Saturday, November 13 at Arden Presbyterian Church. The family will receive guests at the church starting at noon and will continue our visits during a reception immediately following the funeral service in the “Arbie Rhodes Media Center” at Valley Springs Middle School.

A private burial will be held at Roberts Memorial Park. A memorial gift can be made to Valley Springs Middle School (with “Arbie Rhodes Arts Fund” in the memo) at 224 Long Shoals Rd., Arden, NC 28704.

Groce Funeral Home’s Lake Julian team is assisting the family.


Funeral Service: November 13, 2021 1:00 pm

Room: Main Sanctuary

Arden Presbyterian Church
2215 Hendersonville Road
Arden, NC 28704

(828) 684 7221

Visitation: November 13, 2021 12:00 pm - July 18, 2024 1:00 pm

Arden Presbyterian Church
2215 Hendersonville Road
Arden, NC 28704

(828) 684 7221

Reception: November 13, 2021 2:00 pm

Room: Arbie Rhodes Media Center

Valley Springs Middle School
224 Long Shoals Road
Arden, NC 28704

Funeral Home Assisting The Family:

Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian
72 Long Shoals Road
Arden, NC 28704


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Memories Timeline


  1. Mrs. Rhodes was an incredible woman and a role model to young female students (myself) and female educators. She has left a beautiful legacy. Her amazing smile has indeed made Heaven brighter.

  2. I remember Mrs Rhodes as principal of Valley Springs Middle School. Great southern lady. Condolences to the family.

  3. Miss Judy, I am so sorry to hear about Mrs Arbie, she was a great lady and inspiration to all, including me. I will always remember the talks we had. She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her. I pray you take comfort in knowing that she is resting in the arms of angels. I pray for all of you at this time of need. Mary Fowler

  4. Arbie Rhodes was a wonderful Christian lady, a great educator and always greeted you with a big smile as did all of the Rhodes family! Judy, we will be praying for you and the family during these tough times. God bless, Bill and Mary Dot

  5. Arbie was an amazing educator who devoted herself to her students and her community. I admired her and am honored to have been her colleague. Judy, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. Judy, I know it has been many many years since I have seen you or your Mother. I remember good times when you lived on Fairway Drive. Believe it or not I live next door now. I wish you PEACE . No matter how old we get we never are ready to lose our Mother. We were both fortunate to have had such wonderful Mothers. Love Susan

    • Thank you so much Susan! It was wonderful to see you several years back and I hope I will see you again during this next year. Love to you!

  7. The light of Arbie will continue to shine through Judy and four Grands and their children,
    as well as through the multitude of students and staff who were blessed to be part of Valley Springs. I was honored to call her my boss as well as my friend.

  8. A life full of memories for Arbie – and a life-time of Arbie and her family touching my life. I was so happy she attended the birthday luncheon my sister gave for me back in July… It may be the last time our paths crossed — but it won’t be the last time memories of this special, graceful lady cross my mind…

  9. Judy and family I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet loved one her love will be with you in your memories , love and prayers

  10. Judy and family, I am expressing my deep and sincere condolences in the passing of Mrs. Arbie C. Rhodes. She was a mentor and a friend. I will forever cherish her believing in me.

  11. I think I was in 6th grade when “Mrs. Rhodes” came to Biltmore Elementary to be our principal, as the first female in that role in Buncombe County, as I recall. She soon won our hearts as a role model and someone who looked at obstacles as a fun challenge and was open to new ideas. As students, she felt like our friend. Over the years into adulthood, I still had contact with “Arbie” (strange at first to call her that!) when she worked in real estate, and again, she was always a shining light. She made the space she occupied better in whatever role she was in, and I am sure she will still find a way to continue to shine on her family and loved ones from heaven. May she Rest In Peace.

  12. A wonderful person and a wonderful life that touched many a heart by inspiring them to spread the light and be better people for it. I know this without having the honor and privilege of meeting her because of who her daughter Judy and her children are. All are so blessed with her beautiful presence and spirit that flowed thru her from the Hands of God. Truly a gift from Heaven that will be coming home but always within all of you- May God be with all of you on this solemn day but rejoice in her memory, life and times- there is not one sad thing to consider or weigh down her wings and flight to the Heavens to be reunited with her family and at peace with all who’ve known her. She is at peace and she is magnificent – a bright light that will never fade.

  13. Judy,
    You and your family are in my prayers today as you celebrate your mom. Praying for comfort and peace for you all.

  14. Dear Judy, I just found out about your mother’s passing. I am so very saddened for you and your family. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen each other or connected on Facebook, I would very much like to get back in touch. Again, my condolences and prayers for you and your family.

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