Obituary --- Richard Eugene Rice (1932-2018)
Richard Eugene Rice passed away on the afternoon of Memorial Day at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange in the presence of his family. He lived a full and rich life, and was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.
Richard was born on January 15, 1932 in Omaha, Nebraska to Elmer Dwight Rice and Helen (Mitera) Rice both of Columbus, Nebraska where Richard spent much of his youth, attending grammar school and graduating with a high school diploma in June 1950 from St. Bonaventure High School (now known as Scotus High). After graduation he spent a few months working for the Rural Electrification Administration as a rural lineman.
In January 1951 he left home and joined the U.S. Navy, traveling by train to San Diego for basic training. He was rated as a radioman and served primarily on the USS Sitkoh Bay (CVE-86), an escort carrier ferrying fighter planes and helicopters to Yokosuka in Occupied Japan and into Incheon Harbor during the Korean War. While on leave in California at a big band dance hall, he met his future wife, Marilyn Joyce Cardoza, and they were married on May 8, 1954 at St. John Vianney Church in San Jose. He was discharged from the Navy in 1955, and availed of the G.I. Bill to earn a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from San Jose State College in 1958 during the age of Sputnik and the earliest days of Silicon Valley.
Upon graduation Richard was employed at Douglas Aircraft Company, first working on electronics systems for various defense systems, including the Thor and Skybolt missile systems. After 1963, he was engaged in the design of electronic telemetry for the third stage (S-IVB) moon rocket in Huntington Beach and was with the company during the 1965 merger to form the McDonnell-Douglas Corporation. He stayed with McDonnell-Douglas until 1974 after the last of the moon landings and then joined Interstate Electronics Corporation until his retirement in 1994. At Interstate Electronics he was involved in telemetry engineering for the submarine-based Trident missile system.
Richard was devoted to his family and was a loyal member of the Knights of Columbus, attaining Fourth-Degree status and serving in several capacities including Council Financial Secretary, Grand Knight on two occasions, and Chapter President. He was active in a number of other charitable organizations including the Order of the Alhambrans and the Edmund Rice (1638) Association. For his children he served as Cubmaster in the local Cub Scout Pack, and later as a Scoutmaster imparting skills of self-reliance, intellectual curiosity, persistence, pursuit of excellence and a sense of high adventure to all his children. He loved his golf outings, bridge playing, and greatly playing his trumpet from time to time as the spirit moved him. He greatly enjoyed watching his children and grandchildren in their sporting events, attending Servite and UCLA football games, and faithfully watching Angels baseball games. Richard was loved and respected by many well beyond the Rice Family.
Richard is survived by a large family including his wife of 64 years, Marilyn and six of his children: Michael Alan Rice and his wife Rufina Delizo Rice, of Wakefield, Rhode Island; Jeffry Spencer Rice and his wife Shellie Cook Rice of Orange; Julie Anna Proctor and her husband Christopher Proctor of Santa Barbara; Stephen Eugene Rice and his wife Angelica Lugo Rice of Vista; Katrina Rice Schmidt and her husband Robert Keith Schmidt of Ojai; and Brian Charles Rice of New York City. His surviving grandchildren include Maria Isabel Rice; Mitchell and Cameron Rice; William, Connor and Duncan Proctor; Andrew and Ryan Rice; Nathaniel Schmidt and Eric Schmidt. His first great grandchild Elizabeth Thisbe Rice was born just last year. Richard was predeceased by a son Ronald Joseph Rice (1958-59) and a grandson, Richard Anthony Rice (1991-2011).
Rosary and Funeral Mass for Richard will be held 10:30am on Friday June 1 at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 17270 Ward St. in Fountain Valley, California. Donations to Holy Spirit Catholic Church for the Our Lady of Grace Parish Center Building Fund in Richard’s name in lieu of flowers are requested.