Calgary

Calgary photojournalist remembered for talent, compassion

Ted Rhodes, 65, died skiing Saturday in Fernie when he lost control on an icy run and crashed into a tree, a post on his Facebook page confirmed on Monday.

Ted Rhodes, 65, died skiing in Fernie when he lost control and crashed into a tree

Ted Rhodes, 65, was a retired photojournalist who worked for a number of publications — most recently as chief photographer at the Calgary Herald, joining the staff in 2003. (Submitted by Doug Firby)

A Calgary photojournalist who died after a skiing accident in B.C. last weekend is being remembered by friends and longtime colleagues as a compassionate and gifted photographer.

Ted Rhodes, 65, died Saturday in Fernie when he lost control on an icy run and crashed into a tree, a post on his Facebook page confirmed on Monday.

Rhodes was a retired photojournalist who worked for a number of publications — most recently the Calgary Herald and also the Windsor Star.

He was spending retirement working at the Calgary Drop-In Centre, according to Doug Firby, who enjoyed a friendship with Rhodes for over 30 years after working with him at both publications.

"I think [Rhodes] felt as though he was giving back in some way, to people who are going through a really tough time in their lives," Firby said.

"He really, really cared about the welfare of others, and [had a] sensitivity for people who were sort of down on their luck."

Firby's wife, Lisa Monforton, was also a friend and colleague. She said Rhodes's dedication to helping was also reflected in volunteer work spent building homes for Habitat for Humanity in Guatemala. 

"He was that kind of person, you know?" Monforton said. "He loved being kind to other people."

An adventurous spirit

Described as bright and opinionated, Rhodes had a tremendous sense of humour and did not suffer fools gladly, Firby says.

As a photographer, Rhodes was brilliant and gifted with a natural eye — but likely too humble to acknowledge it himself, Firby says.

One of his passions was skiing, and Rhodes would take trips with his friends to places such as Lake Louise and Sunshine, Firby said. (Submitted by Doug Firby)

"As a reporter, you always appreciated a photographer who could quickly understand a story and come up with a unique way to capture that imagery," Firby said.

"[Rhodes] just had that way of really comprehending what a story was about."

Rhodes travelled around the world in pursuit of his journalism, including visits to India and Indonesia.

"He would get called upon to do those assignments because, I think, of his adventurous spirit and his love of travel," Monforton said.

'That's what I'll remember'

Rhodes also shared many adventures with his life partner, Reneta Rothwell, whom he met over a decade ago.

And she was his soulmate, Monforton said.

"He just worshipped her," she said.

"That was one of the most important things to him, was being with her — and travelling, and making plans for the future, as they were getting into their retirement."

One of his passions was skiing, and Rhodes would take trips with his friends to places such as Lake Louise and Sunshine.

Firby says those trips will remain meaningful.

"[Rhodes] always enjoyed a beer, and we would enjoy celebrating … at the end of the day," Firby said. 

"So that's what I'll remember."

There will be an opportunity to celebrate Rhodes's life in the coming weeks in Calgary, Firby said.

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