The Life and Times of Jack L. Rhea

“Bill Cass brings Jack Rhea back home to Philmont! Through interviews of many persons and meticulous research into records and archives, Bill Cass has again produced a well-narrated biography of a person who has made a significant contribution to Philmont and this country’s history…. I marvel about the living library the Philmont Staff Association is creating!”   – Greg Hobbs

“Wow – what a read! Building on the memoir Jack Rhea wrote about his youth, Bill Cass has done an incredible job of researching and presenting the remarkable, full life of Jack and those who were a part of his accomplishments. Jack Rhea left a footprint on Philmont – and, for that matter, on all of Scouting – beginning over 50 years ago that endures to this day and will for the foreseeable future.”   – Ned Gold

Jack Rhea was Philmont’s director of camping from 1954 through 1962 – a half century ago. Now, he is all but forgotten by the greater Philmont community. His accomplishments are, however, visible to everybody today because they have become part of Philmont’s very bedrock. No matter where you look, Jack Rhea left his mark. The Philmont Rangers. The twelve-day expedition. The iconic Philmont Arrowhead patch. The first radio system. The topographic map. Explosive growth at the Philmont Training Center. Tent City. Ranger City. The modern day Cimarroncito. Clarks Fork, Miners Park, and Indian Writings just to name a few of the camps Jack brought on stream.

This new book reveals the back stories behind those Philmont milestones and provides many insights into the life of Jack Rhea, the Depression era farm boy who became an Eagle Scout, championship basketball player, schoolteacher, cowboy high in the Colorado Rockies, loyal Scouter, and devoted family man. Its pages chronicle Jack Rhea’s perilous journey through World War II when he led young men in combat through France and Germany. Follow his remarkable career from professional Scouting field executive in Texas and Iowa to the highest levels of the National Office.

It’s a lot of book for the money too!

  • 384 pages
  • Over 100 photos
  • Authoritative, personal accounts
  • Definitive history of Philmont from 1954-1962
  • Dawn Chandler cover painting

Note: This book’s availability is expected for mid-December 2012; order now and be among the first to receive it.

Buy now for just $17.00, or get five for $15.00 each.

Thank you for supporting the Philmont Staff Association!

Carry On!, the Joe Davis Biography

Now available!

Follow Joe Davis, the young Eagle Scout from New York’s Finger Lakes, on his camping adventures in the Adirondacks through his Cornell University graduation. Share in the excitement of spending a summer in the Idaho wilderness working for the US Forest Service and then fighting fires, conserving the environment, and directing public projects with the Civilian Conservation Corps in Western Maryland.

You will learn of his many accomplishments as a BSA professional serving councils in Philadelphia, Washington, and Chicago, and especially Roanoke where he bought a mountainous tract that is still the largest council-owned Scout reservation in the United States. Join Joe as he achieves national prominence as the Director of Camping at Philmont in the 1960s and 70s.

Meet the real man behind that unforgettable handshake.

Carry On! is the result of Joe’s own memoirs supplemented with many hours of research, interviews with his contemporaries, the contents of personal journals and letters sent home, and essays submitted by those who knew him best. Learn how the Baldy Country was developed, what happened to the “Ponil Men,” how “rock jocks” got their start, how Rangers performed in their “finest hour,” and just what it was like to be the first two female Rangers. You will discover how terrifying “The Great Flood” was at camps in addition to Fish Camp and Rayado, how the Conservation Department was started, and exactly what made Joe Davis the legendary leader that he was. And much, much more. Carry On! is the definitive history of Philmont Scout Ranch during those tumultuous years from 1965 through 1973.

PSA’s first biography.

Carry On! is PSA’s boldest book project to date with its quality printing, larger format, six dozen photographs, and easy-reading typography – worthy of the Silver Sage honoree it is about. And at $16, it is very much a bargain.

  • 192 pages.
  • 74 photographs, most from private collections.
  • Authoritative, personal accounts of one of Philmont’s most crucial eras.
  • ISBN: 978-0-9830497-0-8
  • $16 per copy or $15 per copy when ordering five or more copies.

The first 100 copies sold are autographed by the author, James E. Sundergill.

Click here to purchase.

See the rest of the Baldy painting gracing the cover by Dawn Chandler

Author James E. “Jim” Sundergill captured many of the lifelong adventures of Joe Davis while Joe was visiting with Jim and his lovely wife Linda who is Joe’s niece. Jim has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland and an M.S. in Management from Frostburg (Maryland) State University. He is retired after 30 years with Bechtel Power Corporation. Jim has been an adult Scouter for over 20 years and has been to Philmont on two separate occasions.

Late November 2009 Annual Appeal

Please accept my apology for being the source of yet another holiday season annual fund solicitation – on the one hand. However, on the other hand, allow me to relate a little personal history on the matter of charitable giving. My parents, who gave to Scouting at the local troop and council levels, sent a small gift to nearly each of the very, very many sources that sent a solicitation their way. My mother, who was always a great Philmont booster, established an annual, council level youth trek scholarship, but that was really her only major, annual donation. She really believed in what the Ranch could do – for youth and staff alike.

My wife, who is no stranger to the Ranch, and I have taken a different approach to our donations to good causes. With a few exceptions, such as minor donations to the Red Cross and Paralyzed Veterans or one-time only gifts as was the case with the World War Two Memorial, we tend to give larger gifts to a very limited number of institutions on the basis that we would prefer to make a major difference to a smaller number of organizations.

Yet either approach, or even a combination of the two, has a lot of merit. I suppose what it comes down to is the importance we attach to the work of the various deserving organizations.

Many biographers say that a certain event was the “defining moment” in the lives of their subjects. I tend to look at that as more of a “defining era,” and suspect that your Philmont days, as well as mine, fall into the category of what had a major impact on shaping us into the people that we have become. Naturally, there have been other major events and eras in your life and mine, but the Philmont days are among the very most significant – especially in terms of opportunities for adventure, developing skills so valuable in the workaday world, forming life-long friendships, and repaying the debt we all owe Scouting.

So, naturally, I want to help enrich that source of so much satisfaction. That’s why the Philmont Staff Association is quite high on my very short list of worthy recipients for my charitable dollar. I hope you feel the same way.

If your gift to the Annual Fund has already been sent, please accept the sincere thanks of all of us on the Development Committee. If that solicitation letter is somewhere on your desk, please retrieve it and send in your donation right now. We are currently in the last few days of the Annual Fund, and you can be assured, if it is a minor donation like most of my parents’ gifts were, or a significant one, in the magnitude of Mom’s Philmont campership for some deserving youth, that your donation is truly welcomed and will be put to very good use.

Thank you.

Yours in Scouting and High Adventure,
William F. Cass