Billy Lee Rice, age 91, of Duncan, Oklahoma, passed from this life to his heavenly home Friday, Nov. 25, 2016.
A memorial service is at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016, at Parkview Baptist Church with Greg Brooks officiating. Services are under the direction of Don Grantham Funeral Home. Prior to the service a register book will be available at the funeral home for family and friends.
Bill was born on Nov. 2, 1925 in Walters, Oklahoma, to E.D. and LaVina (Russ) Rice. Bill was the oldest of four children. He attended Walker Valley School north of Corum. All his life he loved to learn and was an avid reader. He joined the Navy after the Pearl Harbor attacks in 1943 and served until 1946. He was assigned to a troop transport, the U.S. Calvert APA 32. The Calvert made six invasions in the South Pacific. Bill went to a fire fighting school at Pearl Harbor.
In 1948, Bill married the love of his life, Ellena Davidson. Together they raised two daughters, Sharon Kaye Rice Ford and Linda Dianne Rice Gay.
In 1952 Bill was hired by the Duncan Fire Department. He came up the ranks and became the Assistant Fire Chief in 1970. He retired from the Fire Department in 1972. After retiring he became Parks Director for the City of Duncan.
Bill was truly a proud citizen of Duncan and a proud member of the Optimist Club. He was active in his community helping where he could. He repaired bicycles for many years for the Toy Shop. This year, as in previous years, he helped with the Science Fair. He would read to the children at school or teach them about World War II. He was a member and a deacon of the Parkview Baptist Church for 52 years.
In August of 2014 he moved to Duncan Assisted Living. He loved living there and made lots of new friends. He considered his friends at the assisted living to be like family.
He was the nature authority of the family. He would take the children on nature walks to teach them to love God and appreciate nature. Bill had many nick names: Pa Bill, Uncle Bill, The Tree Man, Unkie Bull, The Lone Sailor and recently he called himself Shanghai Bill.
He is survived by two daughters, Sharon Ford and spouse Danny, of Lawton, Oklahoma, and Dianne Gay and spouse Charlie, of Duncan, Oklahoma; a granddaughter, Lezlie Hopkins and spouse Derrick, of Noble, Oklahoma; a grandson, Brian Gay and spouse Dana, of Duncan; five great-grandsons, Conner and Carson Hopkins, of Noble, Oklahoma, and Connor, Evan and Lincoln, of Duncan, Oklahoma; two sisters, Dot Williams, of Comanche, Oklahoma, and Rene Davidson and spouse, B.R., of Mead, Oklahoma and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother and his wife.
Memorial gifts may be made to Christians Concerned 702 W. Willow Duncan, OK 73533; The Toy Shop 111 South 9th St. Duncan, OK 73533 or Parkview Baptist Church 902 North 19th Duncan, OK 73533.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.granthamfuneralhomes.com.
Published on November 28, 2016