Harley L. Rhodes, 75, of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, went to his eternal place of rest on March 11, 2022, at Waimea Queens Hospital in Waimea HI.

A Formal Military Service was held on March 24 at the West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery, Kailua-Kona, Big Island of Hawaii, with Kahu Wendell Davis and Kahu Sam delivering the sermon. Hawaii Congressman Kai-alii Kahele requested from Congress the privilege to fly a special flag over the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. to honor Harley’s numerous contributions of service to his country and community. That flag and a Certificate of Memoriam were presented to his wife at the Service by a representative of Congressman Kai-alii Kahele.

Harley, the oldest of six children, was born on December 28, 1946, in Minot, North Dakota, to Chester and Helga Rhodes of Palermo. He attended grade school in a rural school and graduated from Palermo High School in 1964. He attended Minot State College for two years, at which time he received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. He graduated from the Academy in 1970, and received a B.S. degree with a concentration in applied mathematics. He then went active duty in the U.S. Navy, and attended the U.S. Naval Flight School in Pensacola, Florida, and became a Designated Naval Aviator in 1971. He flew jets for the Navy until September 1976, including several TDY missions in Japan.

In 1977 he went active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard, becoming an Engineering Test Pilot. He accepted and tested aircraft for flight envelope and systems performance evaluations, and delivered aircraft throughout the Bahamas and U.S. Along with a staff of 23 flight engineers and technicians, they developed aircraft overhaul, modification and repair programs. Engineered installations were also developed for C130, Falcon 20, SK61, HH52A and HH65A rescue aircraft. He flew SK61 rescue rotorcraft for the Coast Guard through June 1987. During this time he earned a Master of Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1982, in a research field of avionics, fiber optics and advanced lasers.

During his military career, he earned the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Ribbon, Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation and several others.

He then entered the commercial sector of aviation in 1987, flying for Comair for two years. In 1988 he began flying for American Airlines, based in Dallas, TX. He retired as a Captain in 2005, flying many domestic and international routes. Throughout his military and commercial careers, he accumulated 12,839 hours of flight time.

Following his Annapolis graduation, he married Barbara Marsh in December 1970. Three children were born to them, Anne Michelle, Michael and Eric.

Following retirement, he married Moanikeala Kaupiko on July 3, 2010, at the Seaside Chapel in Keauhou, Hawaii. They traveled extensively and enjoyed being part-time in Hawaii and part-time elsewhere! He had a great love of adventure, wildlife, nature, and a part of him always missed the prairie he grew up on. They were very active in their Hawaiian community. Some of his clubs were Kona Hawaiian Civic Club, Marine Corps League, VFW, Allied Pilots Association and Friends of the Library. He loved to read!

Harley is survived by his loving wife, Moanikeala (Keala) of Kailua-Kona; sons Michael (Michelle) and their daughters Mackenzie and Molly, Chalfont PA, and Eric, Noblesville IN and Thorne Bay AK; daughter Anne Michelle of North Carolina; siblings Conrad (Nancy), Brighton CO, Charlene (Sam) Daniel, Byrdstown TN, Steven and Kelly, both of Mandan; many nieces and nephews, numerous cousins, and uncles Gary Rhodes and Dennis Schalesky, both of Minot.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brother Curtis, and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Updated: March 25, 2023
Curator: Ed Moore