Steven Wayne Rhodes “passed through that thin veil which separates this life from the one beyond” (as he was fond of saying) on February 13, 2017. A native of Los Angeles, Steve did graduate work in Egyptology and subsequently in Byzantine art history, studying German, classical and modern Greek, Latin, and Egyptian hieroglyphics along the way. After earning a law degree, he pursued a career as a tax attorney in both public accounting and the corporate world.
He read his first book on Tibet in 1991 (Heinrich Harrer’s Seven Years in Tibet—after determining that it was not a fraud by consulting the index in the current Dalai Lama’s second autobiography), and his interest in Tibet never waned. He went on a tour to Tibet in 1993. In 1996 Steve departed Los Angeles and crossed the continent to Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies in Ithaca to study Tibetan. After spending hours browsing in the Snow Lion Publications bookstore and bringing a number of errors to the attention of the publisher, he was offered a job as an editor in 2000. When Snow Lion’s editorial offices moved to Boulder in 2001, he took the opportunity to study Sanskrit at Naropa University. He returned to Ithaca permanently in 2006. When Snow Lion was sold to Shambhala Publications, he continued his editorial work for them until his retirement in 2014. The list of Tibetan Buddhist translations and monographs he edited is long.
He traveled frequently, often to sites in the ancient world he had studied as an art historian. A balloon trip over Cappadocia was an adventure he treasured. Seeing the icons of St. Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of Mt. Sinai was another. His favorite trip was a journey to Egypt, where he was able to visit the ancient archeological sites that had enthralled him as a graduate student. Steve was meticulous, irascible, fiercely loyal, and unfailingly generous. He answered endless editorial questions at all hours (and from a variety of time zones). He prepared tax returns for many Ithacans over the years free of charge. Help in time of trouble was provided quietly. A circle of close friends survives him.