Jack J. Rice

Aug 19, 2014

Loving Husband, Papa D, Friend to All

CANTON — Jack Jesse Rice, 86, passed away peacefully Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, at Mission Hospital's St. Joseph Campus.

Jack was born Nov. 8, 1927, to William Crawford and Beulah Kate Smathers Rice.  Jack was born and raised in the Rice Cove section in the Beaverdam community of Haywood County. He was also preceded in death by two brothers, Roger David and William Howard Rice, and a sister, Mary Grey Rice.

He was a United States Navy Seabee serving in occupied Japan during World War II.  In 2009, Jack participated in the Haywood County World War II veterans honor flight to Washington, D.C.

After Jack’s military service, he returned to the Beaverdam community where he lived for the remainder of his life. He retired from Champion International with 42 years of service. Throughout his life, Jack was active in the Haywood County Democratic Party. He was elected as a Haywood County commissioner and served from 1996-98.  Jack was a lifelong member of Beaverdam United Methodist Church where he served as a former trustee, a charter member of the Beaverdam Methodist Men’s Group, and participated in numerous building teams and other community outreach programs, including Habitat of Humanity. He was also instrumental in establishing the Beaverdam Community Cemetery Perpetual Care Fund. One of his proudest accomplishments was the Beaverdam community’s victory in keeping a high-level nuclear waste dump out of Haywood County. He was also instrumental in establishing the Beaverdam Community Center.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Aileen Francis Rice; and three daughters, Suzanne Rice Oakley (John), of Tampa, Florida, Robyn Rice Gillis (Paul), of Greenville, South Carolina, and Kim Rice Adams, of LaGrange, Georgia; six grandchildren, Logan Adams Johnston (Chris), of Phoenix, Arizona, John Paul and Carlyle Gillis, of Greenville, South Carolina, Jack and Gray Oakley, of Tampa, Florida, Emery Adams, of LaGrange, Georgia; and a brother, Josh Rice (Alline), of the Crabtree community.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, at Beaverdam United Methodist Church with the Rev. David Childers officiating. Burial will follow at Beaverdam Community Cemetery with military graveside honors. The family will receive friends from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday at Wells Funeral Home of Canton.

The family wishes to thank his special “angels,” Janice Carver Parham, who brought daily joy into his life, and Dave Driver, who loves and cares for the family home place in Rice Cove. The family also wishes to thank Dr. John Dean and his medical team for the wonderful medical care he received over the past 25 years.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Beaverdam Community Cemetery Maintenance Fund, c/o Patricia Robinson, 28 Garrett Drive, Canton, NC 28716.

For those who desire, an online memorial register is available at www.wellsfuneralhome.com.

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