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Laura Rice

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Laura Rice Obituary
Laura Carol Schectman Rice passed away peacefully at home on September 2, 2014 surrounded by her family and friends. Laura was born in Fort Worth on November 21, 1955 to Ethel Reisberg Schectman and Arnold Schectman. As a baby she exhibited a tremendous talent for chatting, which became her lifelong passion with friends, family and strangers, anywhere at all and long into the night.
Laura grew up with a close-knit group of family and friends, graduating from Paschal High School in Fort Worth. At the University of Texas, she met the love of her life and her soulmate, Joe Rice. Laura and Joe married in December 1978, which marked the beginning of a great adventure with tons of joy, sweetness, family vacations, first steps, latkes, charoset, school plays, countless hospital visits and deep friendships in store for them. From the start, Laura cherished being part of Joe's warm, welcoming family. Most of all she adored her mother-in-law Ann.
After graduating with a degree in accounting, she embarked on a career as a CPA. At Mann Frankfort Stein & Lipp she was embraced by co-workers and clients who became lifelong friends. She was thrilled when she was named a partner at the firm.
She and Joe were blessed with two wonderful children, Jennifer and Benjamin, who were raised in a home with infinite love, kisses and holiday celebrations. Laura continued to work during two pregnancies and years of chemotherapy. Throughout everything, Laura and Joe were best friends and partners who could rely on one another no matter what they faced.
When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999, Laura met the challenge with ferocity, humor and courage that only strengthened over the years. Laura amazed and inspired everyone who knew her; she was forever becoming braver, sweeter, funnier, more outspoken, more compassionate and grateful, and more focused on supporting the causes that were close to her heart.
When her friend Holly Skolkin introduced her to the Aishel House, a home away from home for patients of the Texas Medical Center, Laura fell in love with the organization. Through their volunteer work, Holly and Laura found happiness and purpose and created many beautiful friendships. In 2012, she was incredibly excited and honored to be Aishel House's Volunteer of the Year. Laura was also a longtime board member at Congregation Beth Yeshurun, her spiritual home, proudly serving as Co-Chair of the Synagogue Education Committee, and as Synagogue Treasurer and Vice President. Along with family and friends, Laura co-founded Count Me In Inc., a non-profit organization that provides Hanukkah gifts for hundreds of families regardless of their financial situation. In the last year of her life, Laura inspired her family to bring Friday night services to her. This became a very special place called the Cul de Sac Shul, which convened for Shabbat dinner and joyful healing services. Everyone who cooked, prayed and danced with her meant the world to Laura.
Laura is survived by her parents Arnold and Ethel, her husband Joe, her children Jennifer and Benjamin, her brother Larry, her nephews Charles and Reuben, and an entire village of supportive friends who can only be considered family.
The family is deeply grateful to her many rabbis, mahjong players, and extraordinary caregivers over the years, including Dr. Garrett Rush Lynch, Dr. Eric Strom, Karen Siegel Propis and Dawn Pirone, who became Laura's friends and advocates. The family also wishes to thank LaQuita Jones, Carol Elizondo and Genie Heyward, along with the staff at the Baylor Infusion Center.
In lieu of flowers, those who wish to make a memorial contribution are encouraged to support the Aishel House (www.aishelhouse.com), Count Me In (www.countmeininc.org), Baylor College of Medicine in honor of Dr. Garrett Rush Lynch, or Congregation Beth Yeshurun in honor of Rabbi Jack Segal. Laura's outrageous sense of humor and beautiful neshama will make us smile and inspire us forever.
Funeral services in memory of Laura will be held at 1:00 PM on Thursday, September 4, 2014 at Congregation Beth Yeshurun, 4525 Beechnut Boulevard.


Published in Houston Chronicle from Sept. 3 to Sept. 4, 2014
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