Maurice T. and Inez S. Rhoe Fund

Six siblings came together to honor their parents’ remarkable lives

Maurice and Inez Rhoewere blessed with a large, close-knit family who got along well with each other, even as they were growing up. After Maurice and Inez were both gone, all of their six children – Maurice, Jr., Deborah, William (Bill), Daphne, Jonathan, and Ian – came together again to do something that would honor their parents’ remarkable lives. They established the Maurice T. and Inez S. Rhoe Fund at the Foundation to further the philanthropic work that Maurice and Inez had devoted much of their lives to. Their lives had reflected their values: service to country, service to community, love of family, and concern for others.

Siblings Daphne Rhoe, Bill Rhoe, and Deborah Van Der Watt at Women's Empowerment

Maurice T. Rhoe, Sr. was a career member of the U.S. Air Force who always worked at least two jobs to support his growing family. Additionally, he became an ordained minister later in life. Both parents were connected to the community and were extremely hard workers, say their children. When Inez was not working at a job or at home, she was busy with a variety of volunteer activities. “Volunteering was who she was,” says Daphne. Bill remembers that she served as a den mother in Texas when her kids were young, and when the family eventually settled in the Sacramento region, Inez took on a variety of church and community activities. She was involved early on with the Camellia Symphony and was honored when the conductor played at her 70th birthday celebration. She also served as an ombudsperson for the elderly through a program of UC Davis.

“Our father made it possible for her to fulfill her philanthropic passion,” the siblings say, recalling the many jobs that Maurice, Sr. worked in addition to his full-time military duties.

Inez “always had a soft spot for people on the fringes,” according to Daphne. If she saw someone in need, she would give that individual whatever she had. She would shop for items such as blankets when they were on sale so she could make up care parcels to have on hand. For years, Inez was active with Maryhouse, a program of Sacramento Loaves and Fishes serving homeless women and children. On the first Saturday of every month, Inez, Deborah, Daphne, and daughter-in-law Wanda would meet for brunch, and each attendee would contribute to a pool over which Inez served as treasurer. Every quarter they collected enough money to buy a heavy-duty stroller for one of the mothers at Maryhouse. At Christmas, instead of exchanging gifts, the Rhoes would adopt a family in need, making sure there were gifts for every person in the household, plus a tree, decorations, and a holiday meal.

Appropriately enough, the first grant that the siblings directed from the Maurice T. and Inez S. Rhoe Fund was for Women’s Empowerment, whose mission is to educate and empower women who are homeless with the skills and confidence necessary to get a job, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and regain a home for themselves and their children. Deborah, Bill, and Daphne, who live in the Sacramento region, were able to visit Women’s Empowerment and see for themselves the good being done in their parents’ names. Their three brothers, who are out of the area, are nonetheless able to stay connected through online access to the fund’s activities. Together, as a family, the Rhoes are continuing their parents’ legacies of compassion and generosity.

See the siblings' story in one of our KVIE spots

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