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January 18, 2021

Former Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes died Jan. 16, 2021, after losing his battle to COVID-19.

Like many in the Myrtle Beach area community, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce remembers John for his big personality, love for his family and his many contributions to the tourism industry in the Myrtle Beach area.

“We mourn the passing of former Mayor John Rhodes and send our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” said Karen Riordan, president and CEO of Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. “John was devoted to his family and his city and was a good friend to the chamber and business community.”

John had a strong working relationship with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber and Convention and Visitors Bureau and over his 12 years as mayor, contributions to the city in partnership with the chamber are numerous. 

  • John was the father of the Tourism Development Fee. Working with tourism leaders in Myrtle Beach and legislators in Columbia, he helped pass this landmark tourism legislation in Myrtle Beach to invest in tourism and help keep taxes low for Myrtle Beach residents.
  • John was the pioneer behind Savannah’s Playground in the Market Common, a place where all children feel welcome.
  • Since 1981, John served as the director of the Beach Ball Classic, which brought top notch basketball players and teams from around the country to Myrtle Beach during the slower winter months. He was also a pioneer in girls basketball, growing a girls tournament with former UNC Women's Basketball Coach Sylvia Hatchell.
  • John was always a strong advocate for our beaches and worked with state and federal leaders to find investments in beach renourishment.
  • John was the driving force in getting sports tourism facilities built in the city of Myrtle Beach, including the facilities at Market Common, and the renovations at Doug Shaw Stadium, making it one of the best track facilities in our region. John helped lead the planning, design, construction and operation of the Myrtle Beach Sports Center, a 100,000 square foot facility used by thousands of residents and hundreds of thousands of visitors. 
  • While mayor, John oversaw the redevelopment of what we now know as the Market Common, an upscale shopping and residential neighborhood in the south end of Myrtle Beach, which now serves as a model around the country for former military sites.
  • John’s tenure included the development of the Myrtle Beach boardwalk, a 1.3-mile project that has helped spur millions in private investment on the oceanfront. 

John's passion for his city and for sports shone through in every conversation, but the topic he loved the most was to share his love and pride of his wonderful family. He always had a story about projects he and Terri were involved in and would share pictures of his children and grandchildren. John will be greatly missed.


      Savannah’s Playground                                                    Myrtle Beach Boardwalk


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