Roberta Rice M.D.(1917 - 2014)

Roberta Geraldine

Rice, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Kansas City, MO - Roberta Geraldine Rice, M.D., F.A.C.S. died April 1, 2014, at her home in Kansas City, MO, where she lived with her niece and family, Barbara and Fred Vanecek.

Roberta was born May 29, 1917 in LeSueur Center, MN, in the Methodist parsonage.

After graduating from Rochester (MN) High School she went on to graduate from Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO. She woke up each morning viewing Pike's Peak. Her next step was the University of Minnesota med school. After an internship at the University of Illinois she did her surgical training at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Her mentor was Dr. Charles Mayo.

When the plans to go to Korea had to be put on hold due to the outbreak of the Korean War, Dr. Rice joined the staff of the VA Medical Center in Grand Island, NE. The Holy Spirit worked through Trinity UMC and the United Methodist Women of Nebraska. They sent her to Korea in 1956 to serve as a United Methodist medical missionary educator.

She served in Seoul, Korea from 1956 to 1975 as Professor of Surgery at Yonsei University and Ewha University Colleges of Medicine. Before leaving Korea, Dr. Rice was awarded the Grand Order of Mungunghwa, the highest decoration awarded by the government of the Republic of Korea.

She joined the faculty of the new medical college at Marshall University in Huntington, WV, and rejoined the VA in surgery at Huntington until she retired from surgical practice in 1986. She was a past president of the Altrusa Club of Grand Island, NE, and of Huntington, WV. After retirement she was a volunteer to the Huntington Hospice staff, a Laubach literacy tutor, and worked with Korean students in Huntington. She served on the Administrative Board of the First United Methodist Church in Huntington, sang in the choir, played the pipe organ, and was an active member of United Methodist Women. She served two terms on the Board of the Diaconate Ministry of the West Virginia United Methodist conference and was a member of the Cabell-Huntington Hospital Board from 1988 to 1991.

In April, 1992 she moved to the Brooks-Howell Home for retired Methodist Deaconesses and Missionaries in Asheville, NC. She continued her busy life singing in the Central UMC choir, playing the organ for the BHH chapel services and the Haywood Congregation and an active member of the Brooks-Howell community.

Roberta was predeceased by her parents, Geraldine and Robert John Rice; her brother and sister-in-law, George and Helen Rice; her brother, Robert John Jr.; and her nephew, Robert John III.

She is survived by her brother, Bruce (Ilene), St. Paul, MN; sister-in law, Phyllis Rice, Grand Island, NE. Also surviving are nieces and nephews, Kathy R., Barbara V (Fred-Matthew), David R. (Chris-Adam and Mandy), Steven R. (Kristi Rutledge -Nathan, Spencer and Aubrianne), Michael R. (Ann - Kaitlin), Thomas R. (Rebecca - Tyler and Kelsey), Julie Ann Rice-Andrew (John Andrew- Andres Garza, Madeline and Sarah A.), Jeffrey R. (Vianna - Bradley R. and Vanessa Malm), Karen Nelson (Scott N.- Erik and Tara).

Dr. Rice made the world a healthier and happier place.

Her ashes will be buried at her parent's grave-site in the Woodbury UMC Cemetery in Woodbury, MN.

A memorial service will be conducted at the Brooks-Howell Home, Asheville, NC, on May 19, 2014, at 3:30 PM.

Memorials may be given to Central UMC, Brooks Howell Home, Haywood Congregation and Respite Program, all in Asheville, NC. (

Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on May 4, 2014