Cover photo for Merla Jean Rhodes's Obituary
Merla Jean Rhodes Profile Photo

Merla Jean Rhodes

October 21, 1932 — September 4, 2023

Merla Jean Rhodes

Merla Jean Rhodes, age 90, a longtime resident of Hays, Kansas, passed away on Monday, September 4, 2023, at the Good Samaritan Society in Ellis, Kansas. She was born on October 21, 1932, in rural Decatur County, Kansas, to Merle E. and Lorna M. (Stimbert) Bishop. She married Delbert Rhodes in 1956. Sadly, Delbert preceded her in death on August 22, 1969.

Merla's early years were spent on a farm in rural Decatur County, where she received her education in Oberlin and attended a country school. She dedicated 27 years of her life to working in housekeeping at the Oberlin Good Samaritan Society Care Center. Afterward, she lived at Centennial Towers in Hays for 18 years before relocating to Ellis two years ago.

Merla had a passion for playing cards, listening to country music and was an avid reader. She also held a deep affection for animals, particularly horses, and enjoyed riding.

She is survived by her loving children: Marty Rhodes of Hays, KS; Lori Leiker and her husband, Ron, of Hays, KS; and Dennis Rhodes and his wife, Mary, of Gardner, KS. She is also survived by her six cherished grandchildren: Jeff Leiker, Drew Rhodes, Daniel Rhodes and his wife, Alyssa, Sarah Hilgenkamp and her husband, Tyler, Joshua Rhodes and his wife, Brittney, and Gabrielle Rhodes, along with her 11 great-grandchildren.

In addition to her husband Delbert, Merla was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Derry Bishop, and her granddaughter-in-law, Katherine Leiker.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, with the family receiving friends from 1:00 to 2:00 P.M. at Cline's-Keithley Mortuary of Hays, located at 1919 East 22nd Street, Hays, Kansas 67601. Inurnment will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making memorial contributions payable to the Humane Society of the High Plains, care of Cline's-Keithley Mortuary of Hays.

Condolences can be sent via email to or left om Merla’s tribute page at allowing friends and loved ones to share their memories.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Merla Jean Rhodes, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Sunday, September 10, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Cline's-Keithley Mortuary of Hays

1919 East 22nd Street, Hays, KS 67601

Inurnment will be held at a later date.

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