Thomas Joseph Rhone

April 22, 1932 ~ September 7, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old


Thomas J. Rhone was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming to Mr. Robert Charles and Mrs. Sudie Smith Rhone on April 24, 1932 and was called to Heaven on September 7, 2023 at North Kansas City Medical Center - Hospice.

Growing up in Wyoming, Mr. Rhone's chances of making it as a basketball player were minimal so he left town and enrolled at the University of Denver becoming the first African American to play basketball there. Not only was he Denver's first, he was also the first African American player to play against the Kansas Jayhawks back in the 1952-53 season. At the time, little did he know his Kansas connection with sports and education would lead to 45+ years in education and touching thousands of lives.  

Tom received his master's degree in Secondary School Administration from The University of Denver (1951-54). He moved to Kansas City in 1955 and began his teaching career at Sumner High School where he was also Head Basketball Coach until 1965. He moved over to Wyandotte and from 1965-1971 where he served as Vice Principal. In 1973, Mr. Rhone became TOP DOG and was named Principal of Wyandotte High School and remained there until his retirement in 1984. 

After Wyandotte, he joined Marion Laboratories and was there until 1988 before Ewing Marion Kauffman called him to the Foundation to run the newly formed Project Choice from 1988-2001. Tom was known for being a hard worker and a family man to his loving wife, daughter and granddaughter. He was also a Board Member for the following: Douglass National Bank, American Jr. Golf Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the American Royal Association, Inc. just to name a few.

Altogether, he provided over 45 years of education to Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri. 

Preceding him in his death are his siblings, Robert Charles “Bob” Rhone, Jr. and Harriet Elizabeth “Liz” Byrd and was the son-in-law of the late Ernest and Helen Holland, brother in-law of the late Ernest Holland Jr., and June Holland. Mr. Rhone leaves behind an abundance of loved ones including his wife of 66 years, Majorie Holland Rhone, sister Delores Rhone Biggs, daughter Susan, granddaughter Aileen, and a host of other nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and students.  

Tom was a big fan of our local sports teams, the Kansas City Royals, Kansas City Chiefs, and Kansas Jayhawks. He treasured the relationships that he built with the late-great Buck O'Neil and other Negro League Monarchs. 

Our joys will be greater, Our love will be deeper, Our life will be fuller, because we share your moment. Arthur Unknown

In lieu of flowers, the family requested that donations be sent to honor his legacy in supporting the ThreeFive Tom & Marjorie Rhone Scholarship Fund. Checks made payable to ThreeFive are to be sent to 6648 W 150th Street, Overland Park, KS. 66223. Venmo - @topbulldog


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Memorial Service
September 17, 2023

3:00 PM
Memorial Hall
600 N. 7th Street Trafficway
Kansas City, KS 66101


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