Homer A. Rodeheaver, 1948

May 28th, 2013, 12:30H · Topics: Famous And Not So..., Girls, Guys · Print


“Homer A. Rodeheaver, (with trombone).  He was a publisher and writer of over 1,000 religious songs.  He was a great showman also, he was a preacher also.  This picture was taken here in Jacksonville in 1948.”  LS

According to his obituary from December 19, 1955 in the Warsaw Times-Union Homer Rodeheaver was born October 4, 1880 and as a child would “place chairs in the form of an audience in the sitting room, then get up on another and sing and preach to this self-made congregation. ”  At 16 he enlisted in the Spanish-American war.  He joined the famous evangelist Billy Sunday in 1910 and worked as his Music Director for over 20 years.  He is credited with using his trombone to avert crowd panic on two different occasions.

“In Kansas a severe wind storm struck in the middle of the closing meeting of a revival campaign. Lightning, thunder and heavy rains, as well as near-hurricane winds caused chaos under the big canvas. Winds began to pull the big tent poles. The top and sides began to sag. One of the quarter poles fell, striking a woman on the head. The crowd was prepared to panic, nearly everyone jumped up to run. Dr. Rodeheaver picked up his trombone and began to play. The crowd quieted down. He was able to maintain the crowd’s attention until the storm ended. Newspapers headlined Rodeheaver’s action. A similar incident occurred in Toledo, O., when a section of bleachers crumbled in the armory where a meeting was being held. Again Dr. Rodeheaver’s trombone saved the day.”

In 1952 he established the Rainbow Ranch for Boys in Palatka, FL which provided a “wholesome home environment with religious, school and vocational training” for abused and abandoned boys.  It was later renamed the Rodaheaver Boy’s Ranch and is still in operation today.

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About Photographer Loyd Sandgren

I first met Loyd Sandgren in 1997 as I was putting photo gear back into my car after... Learn More