Robert Rice

Robert Dean Rice

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019
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Robert Dean “Bob” Rice, 99, passed away on November 27, 2019 at home in Painted Post. He was born on October 3, 1920 to Stuart J. Rice, Sr., and Flossa Wells in Corning, NY.

Bob grew up on Princeton Avenue on the Northside, first in a little house ordered from the Sears Roebuck catalog and then in a larger home on the corner built by his dad’s company. He and his best friend, Ondree Rockwell, around age 10, built a horseshoe pit next door with local riverbed clay they dug and hauled themselves. He spent summers playing ball or fishing with his dad and two brothers, Stuie and Warren; visiting cousins in Columbia Crossroads, PA, and helping out at the Savona Hotel, owned by his Grandmother and Uncle Charlie Rice. He also enjoyed spending time with his grandfather, Jarvis Rice, at his farm in Monterey, and having Sunday dinners with his Wells grandparents in Cohocton, followed by a roaring game of horseshoes. As a Northside High School student Bob had perfect attendance. He lettered in horseshoes, basketball and baseball and was a pitcher on the 1938 Steuben County Champion baseball team. In one game he allowed only one hit, helping to achieve the 9 – 1 record season. This led to his future induction into the Corning- Painted Post Sports Hall of Fame. Bob also was a talented musician, playing the tuba in the school band , the piano by ear and the bass fiddle in groups that entertained in local clubs and in the Adirondacks.

After living to tell about losing his brakes in his Model A Ford on the 414 hill into Watkins Glen, he attended Colgate University and Mansfield State College for two years, majoring in music. Then World War II interrupted his studies. He joined the Army Air Corps and completed pilot training but an injury prevented him from active combat duty, something he always regretted. On November 4. 1944, while on leave, he married Betty Marion Paul, daughter of LD and May Paul, in Marcellus, NY. After a construction stint in the Syracuse area, in 1952 he joined his dad and brother, Warren, in their family business, Rice & Sons, Heating Contractors and, later, Lawn & Garden and Landscape specialists in Corning. He moved the business and their home to Rt.352 Big Flats in 1968 and rebuilt both after the 1972 flood.

In his free time Bob enjoyed fishing; competing in statewide horseshoe meets as a member of the Corning Horseshoe Club; growing his favorite red tomatoes, red roses, and red raspberries; rooting for his Red Sox and for any team playing the Yankees; trying his luck with the horses using his “system”; playing with his beloved St. Bernards or Golden Retrievers; and entertaining everyone with his piano playing. He was known for his quiet nature and warm smile, his red cardigan golf sweater and his curiosity about new technology and future inventions. In the 1950s he predicted that cars would be able to fly one day and in the 70s he sold hydroponic greenhouses which are now seen as the best way to feed the world's growing population. He embraced computers when in his 80s and wanted to raise chickens and build a solar home in his late 90s. He was always thinking, learning and figuring.

In addition to his wife, Betty, dying just 3 months earlier, Bob was predeceased by his parents and two brothers, as well as many friends. He is survived by his three children, Pamela (Don) Helm of York, PA; Jeffrey (Debbie) Rice of Keuka Park, NY; and Barbara (Brian) Arnold of Addison, NY; seven grandchildren, Andrew Helm (Jacksonville), Christopher Rice (Richmond), Jason (Nelly) Rice (San Diego), Carrie (Chris) Hurd (Keuka Park), Emily (Charles) Wright (Addison), Sarah (Chris) Holden (Corning), and Cody Arnold, (Painted Post); 11 great- grandchildren, Zachary Helm, Madison and Carter Rice, Livia and Lola Rice, Charleigh and Bricen Wright, Logan and McKenna Hurd, and Keilan and Nora Holden. A 12th is due in February.

The family wishes to thank the medical and home health services that have provided such good care to Bob in recent years: Russell Woglom, MD, Jodi Cardinale, PA and all of Guthrie Internal Medicine staff; the Veterans Administration; Rahul Gosain, MD, Susan Burchill, MS,FNP, Julie Nichols, CNP,and all of the nursing and front desk staff at the Guthrie Hematology Dept and Infusion Center; Guthrie Med Supply staff especially Brad; Wegmans Pharmacy especially Ken; the NYS Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Medicaid Waiver; CareFirst Palliative Care Staff, Kim Langdon BSW, and Suzanne Scheib, RN; All Metro Home Health Care Administration, Nursing and Personal Care Aides, especially Mary Hakes, Cassandra Baker, Kathy Lang, Destiny Counterman, Christine Champion, Nicole Rossman, Mercedes and Elizabeth Damoth, Teri Fronk and Mary Beam, as well as Cheryl Hurler, Margie Miles and Janice Eggleston.

Arrangements have been provided by Phillips Funeral Home and Cremation Service. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Any donations in Bob's name may be made to CareFirst Hospice or the Finger Lakes SPCA.
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