Ben G. Rhodes, 62, a former newspaperman and publicist who started an antique shop called the Cracked Crock, died of cancer Tuesday at his home in Rockville.

Mr. Rhodes was born in Portsmouth, Ohio, and grew up there. He joined the Army in World War II, and was wounded while serving as an infantry officer in France. He left the service in 1946 with the rank of major.

He later graduated from the University of West Virginia with a degree in journalism. He was the farm editor and photographer for the Raleigh Register in Beckley, W. Va., and then, in 1951, joined the American Forest Products Industries in Huntington, W. Va. He transfered to Washington in 1956. At the time he resigned in 1967, he was director of public information.

Soon after, Mr. Rhodes and his wife, Ruth, started the Cracked Crock in Harper's Ferry, W. Va. The store later moved to Alexandria, and now is located in Damascus, Md.

In addition to his work at the store, Mr. Rhodes was a free-lance writer and editor for technical and trade publications. Since 1974, he also had worked as a post office clerk. He was active in Republican politics in Montgomery Country.

Besides his wife, of the home, survivors include three daughters, Susan Miller, of Alexandria, Lynn Griffin, of Damascus, and Lisa Rhodes, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; two brothers, Robert, of Portsmouth, Ohio, and Owen, of Bradenton, Fla.; two sisters Betty Mcglone, of Osgood, Ind., and Eloise Ellis, of Cincinnati, and three grandsons.