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Obituary: Thomas Roderick Rice

In addition to a life of accomplishments, Rice and the Whitefish Bay Jaycees organized fundraisers to pay for the construction of the Whitefish Bay Little League field in 1977.

Thomas Roderick Rice passed away on May 14, 2012 at the age of 75 after suffering from advanced Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses.

Long time resident of Whitefish Bay. Born December 15, 1936 to Roderick and Ruth (Churchill) Rice in Milwaukee. Beloved husband of Lorene (Murphy) for 51 years, proud father of Suzanne Schorr (Lewis), Richard Rice (Elizabeth) and Bob Rice (Jamie), proud grandpa of Douglas Schorr, Michael Schorr, Anna Schorr, Austin Rice, Courtney Rice, Tyler Rice and Morgan Rice, loving sister Janie Klug (Tom), brother William Rice and brother-in-law R. Michael Murphy. Further survived by other relatives and friends.

Former President and Owner of Rice Insulation, Inc. and Insulation Distributors. In November of 1954 at the age of 17, Tom enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He trained at Camp Pendleton and was stationed at Middle Camp, Camp Fuji on the island of Honshu in Japan. He was in the H & S Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Division FMF. Between 1961-1963, working with State Assemblyman Michael Barron, Tom introduced the idea of honoring Disabled American Veterans with a unique automobile license plate granting Disabled American Veterans special parking privileges. State legislation was drafted and then later passed for this to occur.

In the 70s and 80s, Tom was a dedicated coach and sponsor of the Whitefish Bay Little League. When Milwaukee Gear Company no longer allowed the League to play games on their field (Gear Field) at Lydell Ave/Henry Clay St., Tom spearheaded a group seeking permission to use the land at the north end of Lydell Ave for a new ballpark. With the help of the Whitefish Bay Jaycees, he organized fundraisers to pay for the construction of a new field. The funds raised covered the cost of a backstop, fencing, dugouts, a storage building and infield maintenance. Water Tower Park, now known as Whitefish Bay Park, was dedicated on June 6, 1977. He was delighted to know that the kids of Whitefish Bay would always have a place to play ball.

Tom was happiest being with family fishing, hunting and snowmobiling at the family’s cottage in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Special thanks to Dr. Scott Jorgensen, Horizon Hospice (RNs Rich and Megan, Caregivers Nate and Yaw) and Stowell Associates (Rhonda).

Family will greet friends to honor Tom’s life on Friday, June 1, from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at the Feerick Funeral Home. Interment in Wales, WI will be private for the family.

If desired, donations in Tom’s name may be made to Whitefish Bay Little League c/o Bruce Anthony, Treasurer, 6148 N. Kent Avenue, Whitefish Bay, WI 53217

(Courtesy of Feerick Funeral Home)

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