Rodman Foley Phelps
Published 12:12 pm Monday, November 27, 2023
FRANKLIN – Rodman Foley Phelps, 75, passed away peacefully with his family by his side at home on Nov. 22, 2023 after a hard fought battle with kidney disease. Rod is predeceased by his beloved daughter, Amy; his mother, Ruth and father, C.J. He is survived by his loving wife of 51 years Tricia; their son, Ben; his daughter-in-law, Candice; his dearly loved grandchildren, Ethan (Courtney), Benjamin, Davis, Logan and an incredible extended family of dear relatives and friends.
Rod was a graduate of the class of 1967 from Franklin High S
chool where he excelled in pitching for the Broncos. He went on to pitch for Chowan College and graduated from Atlantic Christian College with a bachelor of art in history. Rod’s love for history lead him to teach at Hunterdale Elementary School where he worked alongside Jim Ritter and many dear friends for 27 years. He also taught at Southampton Middle School for 10 years. Many of his former students have spoken of his ability to “bring history to life” through creating an archaeological dig site, bringing Civil War relics and antique guns, taking students to Jamestown and creating Colonial Day.
Rod’s many interests included painting, where he painted some of the areas beloved historic homes. He was an also an avid collector of antiques, baseball cards and historic guns. His interest in local history lead him to be a speaker at local historical societies where he gave detailed descriptions of Civil War battles and troop movements in and around Southampton County. He spent many days relic hunting the fields with his beloved friends finding buttons, bullets and artifacts of local Civil War history.
Alongside his wife, he was very involved in helping bereaved parents in the Franklin and Southampton County area. He helped organize an annual candle lighting for parents of children who have passed away.
Rod also spent many summers working alongside close friends at Hayes Body Shop restoring antique cars. His love for antique cars led him to restore his father’s ’66 Ford pickup and his son’s ’66 Ford Mustang.
He was a longtime member of Franklin Congregational Christian Church. In recent years he attended Kingdom Impact Church.
Per his request, he asked for no funeral service. Rod spent his final weeks happily visiting with countless friends and family members at his home. Donations can be made to the Amy Ruth Phelps Art Scholarship care of The Suffolk Foundation, 110 West Finney Ave., Suite 100, Suffolk, VA 23434