story & photos by Joan Allison
(photo above: The Thacker-Rhodes pose with one of their Gypsy Cob horses, Moonshine. Gypsy Cobs were bred to pull the family wagons of the Romany Gypsies of Great Britain)
Who was Thacker and who was Rhodes?
Jeremy Thacker & Matthew Rhodes. We changed our last name to Thacker-Rhodes when we got married.
How did you meet?
Through a mutual friend. We began to talk to each other for a while on the phone before we decided to meet in person. I was living in Memphis already and Matthew was living in Alabama. After talking for a while, we decided it was time to meet in person. This was during May and we had a tent set up at BBQ Fest. I invited Matthew to Memphis to come to BBQ Fest. It was May 16 and his birthday. A friend was supposed to come with him because he didn’t know anyone here. The friend backed out last-minute, but he decided to come by himself anyway. He came down to the river and found our tent. We met in person for the first time there and have been together ever since.
What attracted you to each other?
We were so different but yet so much alike. We had the same desires and goals in life…to be successful, raise a family and grow old together.
Jeremy about Matthew – Everything about him…he was handsome, goal-driven, and shared the same morals and values in life. That’s hard to find anymore. One thing that didn’t hurt was that little half-smile he would give out of the corner of his mouth that would make me fall in love with him every time.
Matthew about Jeremy – I knew when I first saw him that he was who I wanted to spend my life with. I fell in love with not only the way he looked but with his heart. He has a heart of gold and would do anything for anyone. He was genuine and made me feel special.
When did you get married?
We got married April 05, 2014 in San Francisco because it was not legal in Tennessee at that time.
What keeps the relationship alive?
We wish to never give up on each other, and we work on the relationship even when times get hard. Always expecting the unexpected helps to strengthen our bond. We have to always realize that we aren’t the same people we were when we got married. We have to be willing to adapt to life’s changes and be willing to change to make it work. We find things we have in common and enjoy each other. Life gets hectic and busy and you can forget about what is important in life – like the one you fall asleep next to each night. We laugh and take time to enjoy each other…we cherish the moments. We accept each other for who we are. We’ve both changed, matured, had life changes, new friends, etc. We’ve learned to adjust, fall in love with the new, and out of love with the old.
Tell us about your children.
Corbin, 20, is currently attending Arkansas State; Jaxton, 16, is a high school junior; and Rowan is just 2 years old. Our boys are our life and we couldn’t imagine life without them. Having three the ages they are…our house is never dull. It’s important to us that others see us and know that we may be gay, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a normal family life. We hope to give others hope for the same kind of life. We are truly blessed.
Tell us about your day jobs.
We own staffing companies PrideStaff and PrideStaff Financial which are full-service for all industries in Memphis from healthcare, finance, office admin, industrial, distribution centers, etc. PrideStaff is a national franchise and our Memphis office is the third largest in the U.S. We also have recently opened a merchant processing company which is where we provide credit card services. We are co-owners of Pontotoc Lounge Downtown and Silly Goose. We have TR Stables (see below), Thacker-Rhodes Properties, and we own a kennel for boarding, grooming, and selling puppies.
We developed two companies: Tuscan Ridge Equestrian and Wedding Venue, and Baron’s Man Cave, but are currently trying to get these two sold so we can focus on our larger endeavors.
You own several businesses. What was the appeal of each?
They were all a challenge, and we love a good challenge. If you don’t take risks, you never get anywhere in life. We’d rather say we tried and failed than wonder, ‘what if?’.
Tell us about your horses.
We got into horses because it was something that we could both do together as sort of our stress relief, and something we could do as a family. We fell in love with the rare Gypsy Cobs breed in 2016 and imported our first one from England. They were originally bred by the Romany Gypsies to pull their wagons across all of England and Ireland. Now it’s a full-time job. We import them directly from England, Ireland and recently Australia. We have a horse farm in England now where we will keep them until we get ready to bring them to America. We recently moved an English family to our farm to manage, train and show these horses (we bought our first Gypsy from them). We are currently the only stable in Shelby county to have any. Our mission is to find and import the breed’s best to make our stables an attraction to visit.
Tell us about your farm.
Six years ago, we purchased the home from Mike Miller (former player for the Grizzlies, Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers and now assistant coach for Memphis). We fell in love with it. It had everything we dreamed of. It’s close to the city but we can have our horses and animals that we love… horses, sheep, geese, ducks, pheasants, peacocks, alpacas, etc. And our newest addition – a camel. It has turned into a farm over the past few years, but it’s our happy place.
What’s coming up for you professionally?
We are currently working our biggest project yet in downtown Memphis. Stay tuned…
What’s fun that’s coming up?
We host a Christmas party each year for all of our friends and clients, some who fly into Memphis for this from all over including Canada and England. This is a yearly non-profit benefit. This year’s party will benefit Memphis Oral School for the Deaf which is an amazing organization that has a special place in our hearts.
What’s your greatest hope for your youngest son?
We had just started the surrogate process when Rowan came into our life. We had gotten back from England and got a call the next morning about him being born. He was in a hospital in Alabama. We were not planning on adopting at all, but this came out of nowhere and was such an amazing gift from God. After we got to Alabama, we eventually got custody of him. We brought this beautiful soul home and made him part of our family. We could not imagine life without him. Our hope is that he grows up with a loving and accepting heart, is caring and makes a difference in others’ lives. That’s what we teach him in our home. We want him to grow up knowing that everyone is equal, and all families are unique. We teach him that some families have a Mom and a Dad, some have two moms, some have two dads, some children have one parent or no parents at all, but we are all the same and equal. We never judge. An accepting heart is a symbol of love.