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TCU professor dies due to COVID-19 complications, officials say

During his career, he received numerous accolades for his work with students and was known as a beloved professor, a memorial page said.

Updated with quotes from Andrea Rhodes.

Robert Rhodes was a "professor’s professor" known for deeply engaging his students during the course of his more than 30 years teaching at Texas Christian University.

He had been an attorney, a remembrance page on the school's website said, and taught law for 36 years as a professor of professional practice in management and leadership at the university's Neeley School of Business. He was an award-winning professor at the university.

He died Friday due to complications from COVID-19, school officials said. 

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During his career, he received numerous accolades for his work with students, a statement from Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. said.

"We are devastated to lose a member of our Texas Christian University family. Dr. Rhodes had a heart for students, as evidenced by the numerous teaching nominations and awards he received. His academic contributions and impact on students, colleagues and TCU will never be forgotten. Indeed, Dr. Rhodes’ work will continue to reverberate around the world as his students apply the wisdom learned from his more than 30 years of teaching. We are keeping Dr. Rhodes’ family and friends in our thoughts during this time."

Rhodes is survived by his wife Andrea and his son Jacob.

“He just loved all his students so much," Andrea said. “They were all impacted by him, and better for having met him.” 

She is grateful for TCU and the support from the students and faculty. It’s the place where she met her husband.

Andrea and Robert were married for 24 years.

Andrea said Robert was diagnosed with cancer in February. He had Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), which is manageable. She said if it weren’t for COVID-19, Robert would not have died. His cancer was under control, she said.

Andrea said Robert started having a mild fever on July 20th. When his fever started climbing, he got tested for COVID-19 and tested positive. His results took three days.

By the time his results came back, he started having breathing issues.

Andrea took him to the hospital on July 30th, Thursday morning.

Andrea and Jacob couldn’t visit until Friday, August 14th when Robert's ventilator was removed.

“I did not get to visit him because of COVID. You don’t get to see your loved one," Andrea said. "It was only when they removed the tube that my son and I were able to see him in full HAZMAT suits. And we sat with him for three hours, and then he took his last breath.”

Andrea implored everyone to wear masks.

“Everybody should wear masks, and you should practice social distancing. And protect yourself and your loved ones," she said." You never know how much time you have left.

“My husband is a very private person. He would not have wanted this to be on TV, but on the other hand, he was also the most generous person. And if this helps just one person from going through this, then it’s worth it for him and me.”

A virtual Zoom memorial will be held by TCU on Monday night at 8:00 p.m.

Those who knew him are encouraged to share a memory of Rhodes with the university for his memorial page by emailing e.cole@tcu.edu. 

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