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Robert Rice

December 21, 1931 - May 28, 2016
Mattawan, MI

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Visitations


Thursday, June 2, 2016
1:00 PM to 2:00 PM EDT
Faith Baptist Church
56070 Murray St
Mattawan, MI 49071
Web Site

Services


Thursday, June 2, 2016
2:00 PM EDT
Faith Baptist Church
56070 Murray St
Mattawan, MI 49071
Web Site

Contributions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Faith Baptist Church
56070 Murray St
Mattawan, MI 49071
Web Site

Flowers


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-6256
Driving Directions
Web Site

Ambati
1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


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Described as quiet and gentle yet also witty and clever, Robert Rice was an extraordinary man to know and love. He was a hardworking man of courage and honor who took everything he did and gave it his all. A devoted family man, Bob treasured his roles as a husband and father, but nothing made him more proud than witnessing his family tree blossom to include grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well. Steadfast and courageous, his life was deeply rooted in the faith that was his constant companion. Life will never be the same without Bob here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.

Although the 1920s were primarily prosperous days, the 1930s were drastically different as the entire decade was cloaked in the hardship of the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, the unemployment rate soared, and a harsh drought crippled our nation’s heartland for nearly two years, adding more strain to an already struggling nation. It was during this eventful time that Bert Leno and Martha Ellen (Cook) Rice were able to shift their focus to an exciting time in their own lives as they were blessed with the birth of the healthy baby boy they named Robert on December 21, 1931. Born at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, Indiana, he was the middle of three children as he was joined in his family by his brother, Paul, and his sister, Carol. Bob was raised in the family home on the family farm in South Bend where his father worked at Studebaker while his mother worked for a local shirt manufacturing company, Enroe. He attended local schools, and after graduating from Adams High School in 1950, Bob joined the Marines. Courageous and dedicated, he served in Korea during the Korean Conflict. For the rest of his life he was proud to have served his country.

Shortly after being discharged, Bob’s life was forever changed when he met the young girl of his dreams. Her name was Barbara Myers, and they were set up on a bind date. They went to a dance that fateful evening, and Bob went without his glasses that night since he didn’t want to be seen wearing them. Barbara was smitten and couldn’t help but notice that he was tall, handsome, and had plenty of black curly hair. That date led to more dates, and the couple soon found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to establish a life together the sweethearts were married on September 19, 1954, in Barbara’s hometown of Galien, Michigan. Together Bob and Barbara welcomed three children including Pam, Janet, and Jeff into their hearts and home. He was actively involved in the lives of his children and looked forward to time spent as a family. Bob and his wife raised their children in Portage until moving out to the country located just outside of Mattawan. Some of their favorite memories were made at their cottage on Shavehead Lake, which was often the gathering place for family fun.

To support his family, Bob worked as a die maker. He spent 10 years at Bendix Corporation and then moved to Fisher Body at Comstock. Bob later retired from General Motors Fisher Body Plant in Comstock Township after many years of service. He worked hard and was an amazing provider for his family. Bob made sure that his kids went to college as he highly valued education, and he strived to make sure that they had a better life than he did while growing up. He taught his children several valuable lessons over the years including the need to be even-keeled, calm, and steady in life.

In addition to caring for his family, Bob kept busy in other ways. He was a man of faith who was active in his church, and he loved traditional hymns like “In the Garden” and “The Old Rugged Cross.” Bob also read through the entire Bible. He had his private pilot’s license and owned a 1946 Cessna 140, and he also loved golfing and sailing. During their retirement years, Bob and his wife went to Florida for six months out of the year as he loved the warm weather and the beaches. He wasn’t too particular when it came to food as he ate just about anything including leftovers, but he was partial to spicy foods.

All who knew Robert Rice would agree that there was no one who met him and didn’t immediately like him. He had an amazing sense of humor and was so much fun to be around. Although Bob accomplished great things, he was a humble man who viewed the greatest days of his life to be the days that each of his children and grandchildren were born. Deeply loved, he will be forever missed.

Robert Rice, of Mattawan, died on Saturday, May 28, 2016 at his home. Members of his family include his wife Barbara; 3 children: Pam(Rick) Goldwater, Janet (Dean) LaVere, and Jeff (Kris) Rice, 8 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren. Bob was preceded in death by his brother, Paul; sister, Carol; and a great-grandchild, Dylan. Services for Bob will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday at the Faith Baptist Church, 56070 Murray St, Mattawan. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service. Please visit Bob’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his guestbook. Memorial Contributions may be made to Faith Baptist Church. Arrangements by Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler & Thompson, 60900 M-40, Paw Paw 657-3870.

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