Maurice "Sam" Rice, 73, of Wauseon passed away Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, at McClaren St. Luke's Hospital in Maumee. He was born Sept. 19, 1947, in Napoleon to the late Wilbur "Pete" and Lavon (Gilliland) Rice. On July 8, 1967, he married Virginia (Elling) Rice at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Liberty Center, and she survives.
Maurice was given the nickname "Sam" by a neighbor man at a young age, and from that point on that was what everyone called him. Sam attended Malinta-Grelton School and attained his GED in the U.S. Army, where he served from 1967-69, spending one year at Ft. Knox, Ky., and one year in Alaska.
Since the age of 15 Sam was a born mechanic. He worked for Snyder Chevrolet in Napoleon, Roger Miller Ford, Wagner Motors, Turnpike Travelers, and Lammon Motorcycles in Wauseon, where he became known as "Honda Sam." In 1982, Sam ventured out on his own and started Rice Repair, working on motorcycles, cars, and small trucks. Sam liked the challenge and would try to fix anything. Sometimes you would see boats, farm tractors, and even lawn mowers at the shop.
Sam loved camping along the Maumee River in the summertime, where he enjoyed fishing to catch that elusive big fish. He was also a NASCAR enthusiast. He was a lifelong member of VFW Post #7424 in Wauseon. Sam was a jokester, and always had a story to tell. He was also a prankster, and no one was safe when he was around, whether he was throwing smoke bombs and yelling "Fire!" or tossing something stinky in the back of someone's pickup truck or even hooking up brake lights to your horn, so when you turned a corner your horn would blow. He loved life and lived each day to the fullest.
Sam will also be missed by his sons, Tim (Jackie) Rice and Todd (Amy) Rice; grandchildren, Dalton, Alexi (Andy Parish), and Ava; great-grandchildren, Gabby, A.J., and Leesy Parish; siblings, Judy (Don) Terwilliger, Karen (Bob) Gibbs, and Alma Hartman; and sister-in-law, Pam Rice.
He was also preceded in death by a granddaughter, Haley Rice; siblings, Chuck Rice and Frank Rice; and brother-in-law, Fritz Hartman.
Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. Monday, March 1, 2021, at Rodenberger-Gray Funeral Home in Napoleon. Interment will follow in Wauseon Union Cemetery, where military rites will be accorded.
A public viewing will be held 1-6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, at the funeral home.
Masks and social distancing will be required.
Memorial contributions are suggested to the Wauseon Fire Department or the Fulton County Senior Center.
Online condolences may be made at www.rodenbergergray.com.