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February 4, 1947 - June 4, 2013

With a gentle sunrise filtering through the roses and washing onto her face, Linda Lou (Lay) Rice, 66, of Kennewick, passed away peacefully, but far too soon, on Tuesday, June 4th, 2013, at The Chaplaincy's Hospice House, after a prolonged, courageous, and inspirational battle with pancreatic cancer.

Born in Twin Falls, Idaho, as the oldest child of the late Wesley and Betty (nee Peavey) Lay, Linda spent her formative years in Great Falls, Montana, with her three younger brothers; and she graduated from Great Falls High School in 1965 where she excelled in science, was a keen debater, and volunteered at local hospitals. She matriculated at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where she met her future husband and life partner. They were married on her birthday in 1968.

She devoted most of the next decade of her life to mothering (spectacularly) and raising her two sons in Everett, Washington.

Professionally, Linda spent a fulfilling and accomplished career as an ARNP pediatric nurse practitioner and nurse educator, with an uncommon dedication to children and their parents, and a passion for their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Her genuine caring and love touched and made better the lives of her patients and their families, and her co-workers, friends, and family alike.

After earning a masters degree in nursing, Magna Cum Laude, from the University of Washington in 1984, Linda immediately joined the faculty of the University of Washington School of Medicine, where she served as an associate professor and taught pediatrics to medical and dental students. She lectured at the University of Oregon School of Nursing; and served as the coordinator of Washington State University's Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education at the Tri-Cities campus. Linda also enjoyed a meaningful professional career as a pediatric nurse practitioner, both in private practice and, most recently, as a school nurse tending to the scraped knees and providing the needed hugs at Kennewick's Edison and Lincoln Elementary Schools.

Linda Rice was a leader in the development of her profession and championed the expanding role of nurse practitioners. She served as State President, National Director, and officer of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates and Practitioners (mercifully shortened to NAPNAP), as well as the founder and an editor of the Association's professional journal. She was the co-founder, President, and board member of the Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Washington, and a founding director of the Nurse Practitioner section of the National Institute of Health.

Linda was active in her community, as a member of Kennewick First Presbyterian Church, where she served as an elder, Stephen Minister, a parish nurse, and on the mission committee. She was conferred the Order of the Canterbury Cross by the denomination for her service to the Presbyterian Counseling Service, now the Samaritan Center of Puget Sound. She was an active member of various social groups including her beloved Book Club.

She was a gracious hostess. Her home was always adorned with fresh flowers; she was a Master Gardener.

She loved the mountain lakes of Idaho, where she spent a part of the summer nearly every year of her life. Nights reminiscing, preparing camp meals in the rustic cabin's kitchen, or just slowly cruising in the boat watching the sun set over the mountain peaks, forged many fond memories for those fortunate enough to share them with her.

But Linda Rice was first and foremost a mother and loving grandmother, and she was the glue that held together a grieving family that remains devastated by her loss. She is survived by her husband, Kenneth Rice of Kennewick and her two children: Evan Rice of Phoenix, Arizona, and Maj. (Retired) Clark Rice of West Point, New York; and her brothers William, Richard and Robert Lay. And she will also live on in the memories of her three grandchildren (Bromley, Miriam, and William), who were the apple of her eye and upon whom she doted.

The family is deeply appreciative for the assistance, compassion, and support of the Department of Oncology at Virginia Mason Medical Center, in Seattle, and the staff at The Chaplaincy's Hospice House, in Kennewick, as well as the outpouring of love, support, and casseroles from Linda's colleagues and friends.

A private family distribution of ashes will occur at the headwaters of her beloved Pettit Lake, Idaho; but no public services will be held. Memorials are suggested to the Youth Fund at Kennewick First Presbyterian Church. Hillcrest Memorial Center of Kennewick has handled arrangements; and you are invited to sign the online guest book and encouraged to leave your remembrances online at www.HillcrestMemorial

Published in Tri-City Herald on June 4, 2014
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