April D. Rhodes-James

May 31, 1946 ~ February 7, 2024 (age 77) 77 Years Old

April Rhodes-James Obituary

April Rhodes-James, 77, was born May 31, 1946, in England and transitioned from this earthly life Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville. 


April was a non-fiction writer, poet, artist and animal protector. The author of more than 30 business start-up guides, she had been a freelance journalist and served as an editor and marketing/communications executive in the publishing field (including Entrepreneur, etc. magazine, Prime Real Estate) as well as for major financial and insurance corporations. For the past 37 years, she and her husband, vertebrate paleontologist Barry James have co-owned and operated Prehistoric Journeys, a professional scientific services business.


In addition to A Field Study of Cats, April's recent writing projects include Prehistoric Journeys: Dreams, Nightmares and Survival of an American Family, as well as the authorized biography of Pennsylvania statesman Merle H. Phillips, as well as a limited edition daybook featuring her photographs of plants, insects and flowers titled NaturErotica and the screenplay Relentless. She and her husband live in a 119 year old home and former dairy barn, which they redesigned and converted into workshops, studio spaces and home for themselves and their pets. 


Her final days and hours were peacefully spent with Barry, her husband of almost 37 years by her side. She is survived by her husband, Barry; her daughter, Catherine Rhodes, and her grandson, Robert James Coles, both of California. 




Thirty-six plus years ago you sent a message to the people and hoped you would get an answer from someone. The odds of us meeting are trillions to one, and yet the universe caused our meeting. And that talk on the phone before we met in person, we knew, we found each other  and together we have achieved the impossible. Being the team we are, we help everyone around us, to experience life on earth millions of years ago.


Somehow all that we did and learned before we met each other was needed to reach that extremely rare connection we now have. So our love, our minds and hearts could now make and follow a new path through life that we alone experience. But we had that same experience of touching the real dinosaurs is a rare job. 


Yet you and I have shared these wonderful experiences with thousands and thousands of children, students, professors, etc. and the wonderful sight of a parent bringing their young children to see and stand next to a real six foot dino leg bone is incredible!


Your insight and wisdom and the abilities you have, enabled us to put together a dinosaur business which has helped people feel connected with earth's real past, and the animals that lived there in the great past. We meet and we started Prehistoric Journey's. What a great life these past 36-plus years have been being together and being lovers in life. Cat has benefitted also, so did your mom and my dad. As John Iwerks said to me yesterday, "I'm so grateful that you both included me in your projects." John's artwork has helped the students and children to understand dinosaurs.


A celebration of April's life will be announced in the newspaper and online so all the people that knew her can pay their respects. 


In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Mostly Mutts, Sunbury PA and/or Sunbury Animal Hospital Safe Program to help animals (a program April herself started). 


On Wednesday, Feb 7, April's friend, Dianne, drove me to see April at Geisinger hospital. When we got to the fifth floor where April's room was, several people were in the hallway. One man in front of me had an old book in his back pocket with colored marker ribbons. I tapped him on his shoulder and said, "Is that a Bible in your pocket?" He stopped and said "yes, I'm a chaplain." He asked who I was visiting? I said my wife April. We had a short conversation and immediately became friends. 


He was Chaplain Wayne Muthler, pastor at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in Shamokin Dam, and he asked if there was anything he could do for us. I asked if he could say a prayer for my wonderful wife. We went into April's room. He stood over her bed and said a prayer. I thanked him and told him it meant a great deal to me. He left our room to help someone else. 


Dianne and I left when April fell asleep. Dianne drove me home and she went to her house. A short time later  a call from the hospital. April wasn't doing well and she probably will not make it through the night. The doctor said, "I think you should come back as soon as possible." I immediately called my friend, John C. to come over to watch our animals. Then I called Dianne. She came back to pick me up and back to the hospital.


When we arrived at April's room, doctors, nurses and the pastor were waiting for us. The pastor said to me he looked up our names on the internet and was amazed of the accomplishments April and I did for children and students. The pastor said, "Never before had he met a couple that worked so hard to help children and animals."


I asked if he could say another prayer for April. As he prayed, doctors and nurses filled April's room. He spoke seven prayers, put his arm around me and we hugged. A great spiritual moment for us and April. 


April's vital signs were decreasing. Dianne held April's left hand and I held her right hand. I kissed April's forehead and told her I would always love her and someday we will meet again in Heaven. At that moment she squeezed my fingers and tears rolled down my face. A few minutes later everything was at zero and she passed away. 


It was so rewarding to meet that wonderful pastor. The loss of my love, my wonderful wife April was less sad because of the actions and words spoken of a pastor who recognized our teamwork to help children, families and animals. 


Only we adults can protect and help our children's lives, their future and their freedoms. 


Life is short we all must help one another to make a more peaceful and happy environment for all the people and all of our wonderful children. They have entered this existence because of us. We need to help guide them and protect them and their future. 


Life is like an amusement park. You enter when they open and you leave when they close down. Only you can enjoy the rides, talking to others, etc., and continue to have fun until the place closes. Or, you can just sit on a bench watching others until it's time to leave. But you really should try at least one ride. Maybe you'll enjoy that moment and then will try more events and just have fun and joy in life. We are the people of planet Earth. Please stop the fighting, the wars, the killing of others. The people deserve a peaceful life and the rights and freedoms for all people. 


Important for everyone: If you feel pain in your lower back or stomach area  go to a doctor and ask for an ultrasound. They are simple and the cost is low. Remember, every woman gets an ultrasound to see if their baby is a male or female. As soon as the doctor at Evangelical Community Hospital gave April an ultrasound, they saw 30-40 gallstones collecting together like a cork in a bottle. For the past year or more, fluid was leaking out into her lower body, damaging her organs. April thought she had fibromyalgia but it was her gallbladder that was causing all her pain and that caused her death. Please have a qualified doctor do your ultrasound. The results and facts may save your life.


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