Gene Hendrick Rice, age 83, passed away surrounded by family at Chippewa Valley Hospital & Oakview Care Center in Durand, WI, on Thursday, September 1, 2016, where he received excellent and loving care. He was born on December 1, 1932, to Herman J and Anna (Bjerkan) Rice in Maddock, North Dakota. He attended the Maddock Public School graduating in 1952 and also North Dakota State University. He joined the United States Air Force attaining the rank of Master Sergeant and was stationed at Copper Harbor Michigan. Through a previous marriage, a son was born, Paul, who preceded him in death at 10 years of age in 1971. Gene worked as an ammunition inspector at National Presto in Eau Claire and Badger Ammunition in Barraboo, as a USDA meat inspector in So. St. Paul, Barron, and Arcadia. He served as a Buffalo/Pepin County Commander at the American Legions. On February 6, 1976, he married Marjorie (Odegard) Wright at Central Lutheran Church in Mondovi, WI.
Gene had a love of traveling, catching hops wherever he could with the Air National Guard in their C-130s, specifically to the Pacific Islands, Alaska, etc. He loved to correspond and visit with all his relatives and friends from coast to coast. He very much enjoyed going with Dennis Brion on his service calls. He never missed going for coffee in the morning and afternoon at the "West Side". He was a mentor at Mondovi Public School for several years. At Central Lutheran Church, he served as a council member, a lector, and an usher. He loved to take his grandchildren for rides, especially the Dollar Store.
Gene is survived by his wife, Marjorie Rice; daughters Sherri (John) Weiss, Jeanne (Dave) Nyre; son David (Michelle) Wright; grandchildren, Jessica (John) Kilde, Khristopher Wright and friend Katie, David (Becky) Wright, Chelsey (Brandon) Saxe, Sammie (Josh) Brantner, Cortney Wright and friend Tyler, Carlee (Alex) Norby, Kayla Nyre, Steven Wright and friend Tim, David Nyre Jr and Kaydi Amidon; great-grandchildren Dominic and Khloe Kilde, Keira Wright and Ari Haigh; Nicholas, David, Franklyn, Noah, Grayson, and Clayton Wright; Brandon Jr and Mya Saxe; and Charles Brantner. Siblings, Jay (Marjorie) Rice, Katherine Larson, Geraldine (John) Rice, Lois (David) Rice; Lenny (Sadie) Odegard, Jerry (Mary) Odegard, Lana Odegard, Gary O'Connell, Johnny (Scott) Odegard, Jean (Jim) Bauer; many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Herman and Anna Rice, his son, Paul Rice; brothers Harley, Willard, Wallace, John, David, and Gerald; sisters, Blanche Scmid, Evelyn Burgess, Lucille Larson, Patricia Banko, Helen Rice, Jewell Lynner, and Alice Harris. In-laws Patty O'Connell, Audrey Passe, Sandy Odegard, Cecil Odegard, Billy Odegard, and Carmen Odegard.
A funeral service will be held on Wednesday, September 7, 2016 at Central Lutheran Church, Mondovi, at 11:00 a.m. with Pastor Rolf Morck officiating. Burial will be held at a later date. A visitation will be held on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 at Talbot Family Funeral Home - Mondovi Chapel from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m. and then again at church on Wednesday from 10:00 am until the time of service.
The family wishes to extend special thanks to the many wonderful caregivers at Luther/Mayo, Eau Claire, and especially to the Chippewa Valley Oakview Hospital & Care Center, Durand, especially Jane Poeschel NP who lovingly supported us every step of the way.