Shirley J. Rice, of Niles

Published 9:29 am Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Feb. 1, 1926 — Feb. 12, 2016

Shirley J. Rice, 89, of Niles, Michigan died at 8:50 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016, at West Woods of Niles following a brief illness.

Shirley J. Rice

Shirley J. Rice

She was born on April 1, 1926, in Bay City, Michigan to Hubert and Lydia (Sinn) Riggenbach. She was graduated from high school in Bay City, and completed several evening college courses at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois while working at Western Electric during the day. She served most of her life as the church secretary and Pastor’s Wife for the congregation of the Conservative Baptist Association being served by her husband, the late Rev. Richard L. Rice. Those congregations were in South Holland, Illinois and other Illinois communities, in Billings, Montana, and Lebanon, Indiana. They retired in 1989 and settled in Niles.

Shirley was a member of the First Baptist Church in Niles. In retirement, she took-on some part-time work as a Food Demonstrator, and was usually stationed at the Meijer store on Portage Road in South Bend. She enjoyed reading – usually biographies of famous Americans, and she also enjoyed crochet. She always enjoyed people, which suited her well in both the church work, and the grocery store, but especially caring for her family. She was a remarkable example of “Loving God, and loving people”.

On May 29, 1948, in Westmont, Illinois she married Richard L. Rice with whom she celebrated the 53rd anniversary of their wedding prior to his death on Feb. 25, 2002. They were also preceded in death by a son, Jeffrey Rice who died on Aug. 19 1983; a grandson, Michael Oct. who died on Sep.t 6, 1989; and by Shirley’s sister, Dixie Cripps who died on October 4, 2011.

Surviving family includes their daughters, Cheryl (The Rev. Leon) Hill of Tokyo, Japan, Kimberly (Paul) Kenote of West Linn, Oregon, and Beth Rice of Evanston, Illinois; grandchildren Jeffrey Hill, Abigail (Naoaki) Konno, Jennifer (Greg) Newbloom, Bryan Kenote, and Linwan Lewis; and Shirley’s brother, Ken (Wilma) Riggenbach of Niles and many nieces and nephews.

The funeral service for Shirley Rice will be at 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, at the First Baptist Church in Niles with Pastor Jim Wing officiating. Committal will follow at the Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles.

The family will receive relatives and friends on Sunday from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the Halbritter Funeral Home in Niles. Contributions in memory of Shirley Rice may be made to WorldVenture, the Foreign Mission Society of the Conservative Baptist Association, 1501 West Mineral Avenue, Littleton, Colorado 80120.