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Muriel Rice

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Muriel Rice Obituary
GETTYSBURG Muriel Larsen Rice died at her home at 220 Ridgewood Drive, Gettysburg, on May 5, 2013. She was born November 12, 1921, on Staten Island, New York, the daughter of Peter and Gudrun (Helgesen) Larsen. She graduated from the Staten Island Academy in 1938 and from Vassar College in 1942. Mrs. Rice met her husband Arthur Edmund Rice Jr. while he was a student at Princeton University. They were together on the Vassar campus on December 7, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Arthur Rice was a soldier and the country was at war when Muriel and Arthur married on October 24, 1942. Arthur Rice served in the Pacific Theater for two years, from 1943 until 1945. In 1947, Arthur and Muriel and their two children, Gudrun and David, moved to Salem, Illinois, where Arthur Rice opened and managed a plant to manufacture paper products for Rice Trew & Rice Co. of Biglerville. In 1954, after seven years in Salem, the Rice family, increased by two more children, Arthur III and John, returned to Adams County. Arthur Rice became president of Rice Fruit Company of Gardners. Rice Fruit Company continues today under the leadership of their sons. Upon their return to Gettysburg in 1954, Mrs. Rice, although busy with a still-growing family, began her active and life long engagement with her community. She was appointed to the Gettysburg Area School Board; she was a leader of a Girl Scout troop for special-needs girls; she helped implement a kindergarten program while serving as one of the first women on the Christ Lutheran Church Council. Mrs. Rice helped establish the Adams County Family Planning & Health Center, and served on the Board of the Adams County Mental Health Association. Mrs. Rice was a guiding influence in establishing the Adams County Council on Drug & Alcohol Abuse. She was the Board's first president and served on the board for fifteen years. She also served for eight years on the Alcohol Advisory Task Force of the Governor's Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse. In 1977, the Adams County Medical Society honored Mrs. Rice with the Benjamin Rush award for "outstanding health services" for her work in educating the local medical community about alcoholism. After early involvement with the Gettysburg YWCA as Y-Teen Chairman, Mrs. Rice coordinated and led the campaign to build the YWCA Family Recreation Center, including a gymnasium and the community's first public swimming pool. She chaired a second capital campaign to add children's daycare, community education and new fitness facilities to the YWCA Recreation Center. She served as president of the YWCA Board of Directors for twelve years. She was honored with the YWCA Outstanding Volunteer Award. In 1979 Mrs. Rice was appointed to the Gettysburg College Board of Trustees, where she served on the student affairs committee. She co-chaired the Adams County Library capital campaign during the Library's successful effort to relocate into the former Post Office Building. In 1991 she joined the board of the Adams County Historical Society and subsequently became president of the Society for eight years. Mrs. Rice was appointed to the Gettysburg Borough Council in 1992 and later served on the Planning Commission. Mrs. Rice was repeatedly recognized and honored for her outstanding community service and achievements. She received the Soroptomist Woman of the Year Award in 1984, the Dean Tilberg Outstanding Volunteer Award presented by the Adams County United Way in 1985, and the Outstanding Citizen Award from the Gettysburg-Adams County Area Chamber of Commerce in 1991. In 2006 the Adams County United Way recognized and honored Mrs. Rice for her five decades of community service by presenting her with the Callie "Legacy of a Lifetime" Award. As a lifelong Democrat, Mrs. Rice worked energetically to support and to elect many Democratic candidates over the years. In 2010 she was honored by the Adams County Democratic Committee as a "Hero Among Us." She was a passionate advocate for women's rights and a pioneer for women in Adams County. Her love for Gettysburg and her sense of its unique and special character led her to a leadership role in two "No Casino Gettysburg" campaigns. Mrs. Rice loved to travel. She explored the world with her husband and, after his death, with her children. She was grateful for the opportunity to visit on numerous occasions her extended family in Norway and to travel to Africa, India, Turkey, South America and Japan. She had a particularly warm spot in her heart for Jamaica, which she visited every winter for 11 years and where she spent many happy times with her family. Mrs. Rice lost Arthur Rice, her beloved husband of 48 years, on January 26, 1991. She is survived by her six children: Gudrun Rice and husband Charles Kerr of Grand Junction, Colorado; David Rice and wife Dora Townsend; Arthur Rice III (Ted) and wife Hannah; John Rice and wife Vanessa; Mark Rice and wife Kate; Kristin Rice and husband John Wolfe, all of Gettysburg. She is survived by fourteen grandchildren: Emily Rice-Townsend, Sam Rice-Townsend (and his wife Deepika Nehra), Ben Rice-Townsend (and his wife Rita Rice), Andrew Rice Kerr (and his wife Langan Courtney), Alex Rice Kerr (and his wife Honora Kerr), Daniel Rice, Christian Rice, Padget Rice (and her husband Will Ralston), Leighton Rice (and his wife Cristina Clark-Cuadrado), Eleanor Rice, Henry Rice, John Wolfe, Peter Wolfe, and Thomas Wolfe; by two step grandchildren, Esther Sollenberger and Caton Sollenberger, and by two great grandsons, Arthur Leighton Kerr and Matthew Rice. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on May 8, 2013, at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, 30 Chambersburg St., Gettysburg, with her pastor, the Reverend Stephen R. Herr officiating. The family will receive friends on Tuesday evening, May 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church. Private interment will be in the Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg. Monahan Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. Memorial contributions may be made to the Muriel Rice Endowment Fund at the YWCA Gettysburg & Adams County, the Muriel Rice Endowment Fund at the Adams County Library System, or the Adams County Historical Society. Online obituary and condolences available at
Published in Evening Sun on May 7, 2013
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