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3200 Limestone Road
Wilmington, DE 19808
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Edward F.T. Rice

1917 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Edward F.T. Rice Obituary
Edward F.T. Rice

AGE: 99 • Wilmington, DE

Edward F.T. Rice passed away at the age of 99 years, 4 months, and 2 days on 4 May 2016.

He was born in Philadelphia, PA, on 2 January 1917.

He graduated from Friends Central High School (Philadelphia) in 1935 and from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY), from which he received degrees in Chemical Engineering (B.S. 1938, M.S. 1939), and election to the Sigma Xi honor society. He was a lifelong member of the Green Street Meeting of the Society of Friends in Philadelphia. On Christmas Day 1939 he married the love of his life Greta Jackson Rice, who passed away in March 2010, a few months after their 70th anniversary. He was predeceased by his parents Edward and Mildred Rice, his sister Mildred Lefferts, his son John at age 15 (a loss he never fully recovered from), and his son-in-law Carmine A. Poppiti, Sr.

He is survived by his daughter Peggy (Margaret) Rice Poppiti, with whom he resided, his son James (Candy) of Fairfield, CT, his son and daughter-in-law Thomas Rice and Diane Billingsley Rice, both of Columbia, SC, eight grandchildren: Carmine A. Poppiti, Jr. (Alicia), Lori-Anne Desmond (Paul), Michael E. Poppiti (True), Christopher D. Poppiti (Valarie), Andrew D. Rice (Jennifer Saba), Jennifer K. Rice (Anthony Scrivener), Carrie R. McDonald (Wes) and Katie Rice, eleven great- grandchildren, and seven great-great grandchildren.

A member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, his initial career was as a specialist in synthetic dyestuffs and rubber at the General Aniline Company (now GAF) in Albany, NY, before his deployment in government service with the National Production Authority in Washington, DC, during the Korean War. He remained a member of the National Defense Executive Reserve from 1953. In this same year he began work at the Dupont Chemical Company, and shortly after he was appointed editor of "The Elastomers Notebook." He also served as the Advanced Defensive Driving Instructor for all Dupont traveling salesmen for 29 years, until his retirement in 1989.

Chief among his hobbies were playing handball as a member of the YMCA since 1943 and maintaining detailed statistical records for his two passions: distance running and endurance driving. These records tell us he ran the equivalent of the earth's circumference, over 25,000 miles, since age 56, and that he had accumulated running mileage in all 50 states (and the District of Columbia), in over 40 different countries, and on all 7 continents including Antarctica. He completed his first marathon at age 61 in 3 hours and 47 minutes. Among his driving records (he continued to drive daily until his death), his greatest accomplishment was an endurance trip through all 48 contiguous states in 12 ½ days (9,273.7 miles), in 1949, which became a feature item in "Ripley's Believe it or Not." Among his other interests were proper English usage, word games and trivia, completing crossword puzzles and double-crostics, competing with the nightly contestants on "Jeopardy," watching NFL football—especially his beloved Eagles—travel, and wide reading.

Long before Google, he was a primary source of knowledge and information for all that knew him.

Among his remaining significant interests was an enthusiasm for climbing things: In later life he climbed Mt. Katahdin in Maine (3 times), Ayers Rock in Australia, and Mt. Santis in the Swiss Alps. He scaled the towers of the Delaware Memorial, George Washington, and other high bridges for professional reasons, as well as the still unopened Empire State Building for personal reasons, unobserved by security, when he was 14-years old. Other notable structures he was proud of having mounted are the Washington Monument, the Tower of Pisa, the dome of St. Peter's Cathedral and the spire of the Ulm Cathedral. His secret nutritional supplement was chocolate chip cookies.

Family and friends are invited to a visitation on Wednesday, 18 May 2016, from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., at the Doherty Funeral Home: Pike Creek Valley, 3200 Limestone Rd., Wilmington. A "Reflection of Life" ceremony in the Quaker tradition will begin at 11:30 a.m., with burial to follow at Cathedral Cemetery, on Lancaster Avenue in Wilmington.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests and would appreciate contributions to the Polycystic Kidney Foundation (PKD), 8330 Ward Parkway, Suite 510, Kansas City, MO, 64114.

To send condolences, visit:

302 999 8277
Published in The News Journal from May 15 to May 17, 2016
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