Press "Enter" to skip to content


Feb. 22, 1920 – Feb. 9, 2019

Lois Luoma Rhodes, aged 98, passed away peacefully in Gloucester, on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, after a short illness.   

Born Feb. 22, 1920 in Newark, Arkansas, she was the daughter of Jeff and Belle Fortune Edwards. As a young girl, she learned business by working with her father, a merchant and landowner, in his general store. She was the first person in her family to attend college, graduating from Indiana University with a degree in biology. She pursued additional training to become a laboratory technician which allowed her to travel the country working in hospitals in various cities, including Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Miami, and Baltimore.

In 1948, Lois married Arvo Luoma, an aeronautical engineer with NACA (now NASA). They lived in Hampton until 1961 when they moved to Gloucester with their six children. Together, they had the exciting opportunity and privilege to be involved in America’s early space program, befriending astronauts and other figures who were instrumental to space exploration. Arvo passed away in 1986.  

In 2000, she married Robert Rhodes and together they continued to pursue their shared passions for travel, experiencing new cultures, and dancing. 

Lois was a smart, independent woman with an adventurous spirit. She valued education and hard work and instilled those values in her family. She was generous, intuitive, stoic, and creative.  She had poise and style. She had a fun sense of humor, and she loved telling a good joke and sharing a laugh.  Even as her time on earth was winding down, she maintained that sense of humor.  She was excited to begin her next journey, eagerly anticipating what heaven might be like.    

She is survived by her husband, Robert; her children, Byron (Annette), Ruth (Bill), Kathryn (Dave), Matthew (Sandi), Valerie (Michael), and Benjamin, and eight grandchildren. 

Funeral services will be held later this year in Newark, Arkansas.

Arrangements are by Andrews Funeral Home & Crematory, Gloucester.