American Patriotic 11

Raymond Martin Rice

December 26, 1924 ~ September 17, 2021 (age 96)


In the early evening of Friday September 17, 2021, Raymond Martin Rice peacefully died after spending the day with his daughters, and his grandson, Shayan. He was 96 years old and lived in Arcata, CA. Ray was born on December 26, 1924 in Berkeley, CA to Silas Paul and Muriel Mildred Rice.  While Ray was still a toddler, the Rices moved to southern California, arriving by ship, of all ways!  The Rices would move many times while Ray was growing up, although all of their addresses were in SoCal. Ray was resilient to all of the moves and had a happy childhood.  We are fortunate that Ray put his life, up to 1954, into a sort of autobiography called "Ray Rice Remembers."  It is full of stories that delight his family.  He recounted his early academic challenges, boyish pranks, visits to his grandparent's Colorado ranch, and many stories of his adolescence, young adulthood, WWII and of his post-war years.  When Ray was in high school, he joined ROTC and was subsequently inducted into the Army Air Corps a few weeks after graduation.  After Basic Training etc., Ray was sent to Muskogee OK to flight school.  He would say that he was thrilled, as he had heard that the girls in Muskogee were "friendly."  After arriving in OK, Ray and his buddies decided on a social strategy that would change his life forever.  They were going to go to church to meet "a better class of girls." So on November 14, 1943 they entered the First Methodist Church, holding the door open for a woman and her daughter as they entered.  This was Ray's first encounter with his beloved Mary.  Ray and Mary met formally later that day at the USO.  They married nine months later on August 8, 1944. Ray served overseas in the China-Burma-India Theater during WWII, flying in the Combat Cargo Squadron.  At the end of the war, Ray returned from Burma, and he and Mary began, in earnest, to build their future together.  Ray received his Bachelor's Degree in Forestry from the University of Montana and began his long career working for the US Forest Service.  He and Mary lived in cabins, on fire lookouts, and all number of places while Ray moved his career forward.  He would eventually receive his Master's Degree from UC Berkley and his Doctorate from Colorado State University, becoming a research hydrologist. Ray's research frequently took him into the mountains and the forests that he loved so much.  He nurtured his passion for nature, and was in tune with the preservation of our planet long before it was popular to do. Ray was walking and riding his bike to work to save energy in the early 1960's, and walked in the Arcata Community Forest for his own pleasure and exercise into his 94th year.  He passed on that love of the world around him to his family in the form of annual camping and backpacking trips. He enjoyed his trips into the mountains far into his 80's. His children, his grandchildren, and his extended family were lucky to have him for a teacher and a wilderness guide. It was a "rite of passage" in the Rice family to go on one of Ray's backpacking trips.  He would say, 'you are deemed old enough to go on the annual trip the year after you pitch a fit for not being allowed to go!'  There is tremendous gratitude from his family for, not just exposing them to nature, but in the way he taught them so many life skills and lessons on these treks.  Ray was the consummate family man, and he adored his daughters and Mary. Together, he and Mary created a "Father Knows Best" environment in the Rice home.  Ray was onboard to help with schoolwork, whether it was helping with a science project, or tutoring his girls in math, science, or reading.   He was always present to cheer them on in their many extra-curricular school activities.  While Mary made delicious birthday cakes for her daughters, it was Ray who perfected cake decorating so that his daughters' birthday cakes always reflected their choice of themes. Whatever the project of the day required, Ray was in the thick of it to help his girls and Mary.  Ray really did learn how to survive a household of females.  He was loving and caring, and if that wasn't working he used levity… and when that didn't work, he just escaped to his favorite classical music via headphones!   After Ray's many career moves, the Rice's moved to Arcata in 1973 and built their 'forever' home at 44 Robert Court, East. They chose '44' for their address number, as they were always very romantic about the year they married and they never passed up an opportunity to celebrate their love affair.  They had 76+ years together before Mary died in the spring of this year. We believe that their wonderful love story is ongoing, and that Ray's death is his way of hurrying back to his beloved Mary. Ray is preceded in death by his loving wife Mary, and his grandson, Graham McCord.  He is survived by his sister Joanne Killam (Nick – decd), his brother, Robert Rice (Pinkie), his three daughters; Marla Dickinson (Frank), Claudia Kostyshak (Geoff), and Barbara Rabia O'Loren.  Also, his grandchildren; Benjamin Van Dale (Erin), Hans Van Dale (Kate) (and their father – Rob Van Dale), Matthaus Palzer (Annelies), Florian Palzer, Claire Palzer (and their father – Gerhard Palzer), Shayan Keshanrousta (Maia), and his six great grandchildren, Simon Palzer, Laura Palzer, Calvin Van Dale, Ivy Van Dale, Duke Van Dale, and Nico Van Dale.  And lastly, his precious cat, Beezee. The family will embark on a private celebration of life in the 'High Sierra' next summer.  Memorial donations can be made to the Humboldt Area Foundation (benefiting the Arcata Community Forest), or Doctors Without Borders. Our special thanks to the staff of Timber Ridge and Timber Ridge – Renaissance in McKinleyville, as well as, Hospice of Humboldt for their compassionate care of Ray during his final months. 

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