Betty A. Rice, of Cassopolis

Dec. 11, 1923 — April 30, 2018

Betty A. Rice, 94, of Cassopolis, died peacefully, Monday, April 30, 2018, in the comfort of her family’s presence in Hanson Hospice Center in Stevensville.

She was born December 11, 1923, in the little house on the hill in Penn Township, the youngest of four children born to Paul and LaVerna Wright. She married Byron Lee Rice Aug. 25, 1943, in Oxnard, California. After more than 65 years of marriage, he preceded her in death in 2009. She was also preceded in death by her parents; two daughters in law, Martha Rice, Barbara Rice; one sister Wana Wright; two brothers, John Wright and Dwight Wright; and her step father, Frank M. Cooper.

Betty A. Rice

Betty was a preacher’s kid, the youngest daughter of a Quaker minister. She and her siblings had to play a musical instrument or sing or do both. Betty started singing in the church when she was four years old. She played piano in the church for over fifty years. Betty had been a Sunday School teacher since she was thirteen. She and her siblings grew up during the depression, teaching them to be frugal. Betty was not an outdoor person, staying inside watching her mother sew instead of playing outside. She won blue ribbons for some of her dressmaking.

Betty traveled with her sister in law to Oxnard, California to get married to the love of her life. They then traveled coast to coast wherever he was stationed while in the Army Air Corps. When Betty did a project, her home became a factory. She was a piano player, a seamstress, a teacher, a disciplinarian, an adventuress, a risk taker, and a prayer warrior. Whatever the need or the task, Betty would roll up her sleeves and get the job done. Her family says that their mom could make a pie so good it would “make you pass out.”

Betty was not one to just sit, not officially retiring until she was 76 years old. After graduating from County Normal, she first taught in a one room school. She also worked as a teacher’s aide at Squiers School in Cassopolis. Betty sewed draperies for Park Estates Mobile Home facility. She then worked for the Westgate Center, teaching adult daily living skills. Betty worked for Cass County Transit, first as a driver, and then as a dispatcher. She knew the county like the back of her hand. But Betty’s favorite job was being a mother.

Betty will be greatly missed by family and friends. She is survived by two daughters, Darlene (Steve) Roush of Cassopolis, Paula (Ronald) Warner of Cassopolis; two sons, Alan Rice of Cassopolis, Delbert (Reta) Rice of Dowagiac; seven grandchildren; Jordan (Rena) Rice, Emily (James) Oman, Owen (Marci) Rice, Kari Lynn (Darren) Watson, Beth Ann (Andrew) Cripe, John Daniel Gore, Molly Jean Gore; seven great grandchildren, Savannah Barbara Watson, Brady Lee Rice, Rilyn Grace Oman, Avery James Oman, Samuel Byron Cripe, Luke Edward Cripe; and a host of nieces and nephews.

Family and friends will gather from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, May 4, 2018, in Penn Friends Community Church, 19107 Quaker Street, Cassopolis. Additional calling will take place at 10 a.m. until a time of service at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 5, 2018, in the church with the Reverends Greg Compton and Bill Bruneau officiating.

Mrs. Rice will be laid to rest beside her beloved husband, Byron, in Prairie Grove Cemetery in Penn Township.

The family prefers contributions be made in Betty’s name to either, Penn Friends Youth Summer Camp Fund, 19107 Quaker Street, Cassopolis, Michigan 49031, or, Hanson Hospice Center, 4382 Cleveland Avenue, Stevensville, Michigan 49127

Arrangements have been entrusted to Connelly Chapel Wagner Family Funerals, Cassopolis. Please share a memory or a message online: wagnercares.com.

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