James Ray Rice, 81, of Sunnyside, Washington, passed away at home after a battle with Mantle Cell Lymphoma on Friday, March 13, 2020.
Jim was born on September 4, 1938 in Granger, Washington to L.Vernie and Lorena (Johnson) Rice. He was active in many sports and had an inquisitive mind, reading book after book during his youth. Jim graduated in 1957 from Granger High School.
After attending YVC for two years, Jim then transferred to Eastern Washington University where he met the love of life, Judy Carroll. Their love continued to grow even when Jim left EWU to serve his country by enlisting in the U.S. Army. Following Judy’s graduation, they started a life together on March 16, 1963, in Colfax, Washington. The newlyweds proceeded to travel down to Barstow, California close to Ft. Irwin Army Base where Jim was stationed.
The young couple, along with their new born daughter, Lyn settled in Granger, Washington, after Jim’s honorable discharge. Jim was hired by Flodins, Inc. in Sunnyside, Washington working as a draftsman. This was to be the start of a long and successful career of drafting/engineering processing equipment. During this time, Jim and Judy moved to Grandview, Washington and celebrated the birth of their son, Keith.
After working at Flodins for several years, Jim continued designing and drafting for Kenasco, Corporation in Prosser, Washington. It was during his time with Kenasco that Jim started his additional responsibility of working in the sales department of primarily potato processing equipment. His belief, and love, of his career convinced him to go into partnership with his friend, Leroy Graf and take over the ownership of Kenasco.
Later, Jim decided to become self-employed by starting his company, Rice Engineering and Sales. Working from an office at B & B Equipment, in Prosser, Washington, Jim designed and sold many more pieces of machinery to help the people of the world enjoy their French Fries, potato chips and potato salad. His customers included such companies as Lamb Weston, Frito Lay, and Reser’s Fine Foods.
After a few years of Judy asking if he was going to work forever, Jim had a room built above his garage, moved in his drafting board in, to have “just in case” it was still needed, and proceeded to enjoy the life of retirement.
Retirement included more time on the golf course where he would spout off phrases such as “Too bold!” or “Whimpy!” when anyone, including himself, missed a putt. Traveling with Judy all over the world was a favorite past time.
Jim was always excited to explore new locations, but not before investing countless hours researching and documenting their itinerary. Visiting all 50 U.S. states, 8 out of the 9 Canadian provinces, and other countries like Iceland, Panama, South Africa, Russia, and Spain to name a few, was a source of pride. He was always planning for their next adventure.
No one could accuse Jim of being a “bandwagon” fan when it came to his Seattle Mariners. He never gave up hope that they would one day make it to the World Series. Scouting out the team, and predicting their season, began on the many trips to Arizona for Spring Training.
His love of history, sports, traveling and miscellaneous trivia made him an “armchair” Jeopardy buff. Jim loved shouting out answers in the form of “What is…” to the T.V., especially if he got it right.
Jim will remain forever in the heart of his wife, Judy. His love and guidance will never be forgotten by his daughter, Lyn (Duane) Desserault of Sunnyside, Washington and son, Keith of Wasilla, Alaska. The enthusiasm for life and the adoration he bestowed upon his grandchildren Dirk Desserault of Sunnyside, Washington and Logan (Cody) McMillan of Grandview, Washington are memories they will cherish. The “Greats”, Diesel, Jameson, Stone and Remi McMillan, truly were a source of pride for Jim. His sister, Louise (Donny) Heitzman of Yakima, Washington and brother, Bob (Pat) Rice of Sunnyside, Washington, numerous nieces and nephews, loved and will miss him greatly.
A graveside service with Military Honors will be held at the Outlook Cemetery on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 at 1:00pm.
Memorial donations may be made to the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance, online at Curefa.org; Bethany Community Church (201 Birch Ave, Grandview, WA 98930); or a charity of the donor’s choice. Those wishing to sign Jim's online memorial book may do so at www.funeralhomesmith.com Smith Funeral Home is in care of arrangements.
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