Steven Richard Rhodes
October 14, 2020
Steve R. Rhodes
Silver Star, MT.
Passed on to God’s mountains on 10/2/2020
Steve was born in Charlottesville, VA on September 2, 1952. He was raised on his family place near Walton’s Mountain in central Virginia, in the foothills of the Blueridge Mountains about seven miles NE of Schuyler, VA in Albemarle County.
As a young boy, Steve learned to love the outdoors, chasing rabbits, squirrels, wild turkey, deer, woodchucks and whatever other kinds of God’s creatures he could rustle into flight. Attending school at Albemarle County High, Steve’s love for the outdoors and all of its artistry assigned him to a lifelong occupation in taxidermy. Starting at the age of 14, Steve’s career honored him with many awards, including the best competition whitetail mounts in the state of Montana from 1986 thru 1992, plus the McKenzie Distinguished Service Award in 1996 for his contributions to the Montana State Taxidermy Association for the advancement of the art of taxidermy. Steve served as President for the Montana state taxidermy association for nine consecutive years, again promoting the art of taxidermy as well as serving sportsmen with assignments such as assuring road access across private land on traditionally traveled byways. Although Steve was awarded many top trophies, plaques and ribbons for his amazing talent, the real passion of his work was simply to see the smiles on the faces of thousands of happy customers over the years. Steve was known worldwide for his ability to expertly mount any species from around the world. He was a master. Whether it was fish, birds, large or small mammals from anywhere in the world, his results were nothing short of perfection. Steve was an artist. The world was his paint brush and the animals he brought back to life were truly his canvas.
Steve attended Virginia Tech, graduating with a bachelor of science degree in Forestry and Wildlife Management in 1974, then came to Montana to pursue a career in guiding and taxidermy. In doing so, Steve taught himself the back roads and pack trails of nearly every mountain range in Montana.
Astronomy was also a passion for Steve. He traveled throughout the region teaching all who would listen about places such as our sister galaxy Andromeda. He amazed this writer concerning this galaxy one night while backpacking in the Elk River Wilderness on a bowhunt. He called out constellations, exploration of the Milky Way and amazed me with his ability to point out other galaxies, stars, and planets in the sky above us. Steve spent hours peering deep into space with one of his powerful telescopes or reading the news of the day with Hubble’s latest findings about possible life sustaining galaxies too far for us to imagine before.
Steve was an excellent writer, with articles published by Outdoor Life, Bowhunter magazine, Eastman’s Hunting Journal and many others. Outdoorsmen learned more than a few tricks that helped bring home his winter’s supply of meat and a lifetime of majestic wildlife mounts and memories.
Becoming a friend to hundreds of people who stopped by his roadside art and collectibles sales along Highway 41 in front of his longtime Silver Star, MT home can attest to his genuine good nature and knowledgeable happy presence. Steve was respected and loved by all who came to know him. He was held dearly as a friend by half of Madison County, Montana, rural Virginia and many world travelers who were lucky enough to meet him. A genuine, sincere “Thank You!” goes out to this good man for enriching the lives of all those who knew him. We will always remember you and miss you Steve. Happy Trails, our mountain man friend!