Wayne A. Rice
September 4, 1929 - August 30, 2019
Wayne Allen Rice, age 89, passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by family on August 30, 2019, after fighting a courageous battle with cancer. Wayne did not allow any sad faces and kept his famous sense of humor up until his end. How fitting for this giant of a man, a most beloved Patriarch to his family. He was born September 4, 1929, in Indianapolis, IN, to John and Edith (Bennett) Rice. His parents soon moved their family to the Wenatchee, WA, area in 1931. Wayne was born the youngest child in a family with seven children consisting of two sisters and four brothers (Thelma, Merrill, Lowell, Norris, Carol, Alma June and Wayne). Wayne’s dad worked on the Grand Coulee Dam with his older brother, Merrill, in the early years. Wayne attended Majestic Flats Grade School in East Wenatchee, WA, Wenatchee Grade School, H. B. Ellison Junior High, and graduated from Wenatchee High School in 1947.
In 1949, Wayne married Kathleen Sullivan and had four children: Greg Rice (Kathy), Micheal Rice, Tony Rice (Michelle), and Gege Planetz (Craig). In 1977, Wayne married Maxine "Mickey" Johanson and welcomed three step-children in to his family: Debra Petit (Roy), Roger Johanson, and Richard Johanson (Janet). Wayne was blessed with 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Wayne’s entire work career was spent at the Wenatchee World spanning 45 years. He began working in 1946 as a substitute on the Wenatchee World motor route. At that time, East Wenatchee was small enough to be covered by one motor route. In late 1946, Wayne worked part-time in the afternoons in the mailroom until graduation from high school in 1947, when he began working full time. In the six years to follow, you could find Wayne in the composing room as an apprentice printer. In 1954, he received journeyman status and continued in the composing room, where he observed many changes from the linotype and hot metal operation in the 1950’s, to paper tape for running the linotype and hot metal paste-up in the 1960’s. The end of linotype came in 1971, when the World began using film, and from there into the computer age. Wayne retired from the Wenatchee World in 1991, as the Page Make-Up Foreman of the Composing Room. Wayne made many lifelong and cherished friendships during his career at the Wenatchee World and continued those friendships until he passed.
If you ask his family to describe Wayne in a few words, you would inevitably hear over-and-over…funny to the bone, the commentator of all gatherings, his support for his family, and most important, feeling his love always. Any family or large relative reunion never got started until Wayne arrived, because that was when the fun began! Wayne spent many years enjoying Lake Chelan from high school on and passed that passion along to his children and grandchildren. His first cabin was built up lake in the early ‘50s, then a down lake cabin in the ‘60s, and a final cabin at Watson's Resort on the south shore. Boating, playing with his kids, joking with friends under the shade tree with an Oly, his beer of choice. That was the best of times. In addition to enjoying his time at Lake Chelan, Wayne loved rooting for the Mariners, the Seahawks, and his beloved WSU Cougars. Wayne also appreciated golfing, traveling, cruising, attending church, and visiting his residence at the ocean.
Wayne stayed forever young-at-heart by being active in his community, volunteering with Wenatchee Jr. Chamber of Commerce, Charter Member of the East Wenatchee Jr. Chamber, East Wenatchee Little league president, Pack 32 Cubmaster and was president of two Lion Clubs. Wayne was genuinely interested in people, was interested in their stories and wanted to help in any way he could and give back to the community. He also spent his time serving the East Wenatchee Lions, RSVP, Chairman of Administration for Trinity United Methodist Church, 20-year service with Douglas County Auxiliary Sheriff Patrol and WVC Graves Gallery.
It is difficult to sum up Wayne’s life, to give the honor he deserves, to convey his uniqueness, his special qualities, his positive outlook, and living life to the fullest. A life well lived and a legacy to be proud of, his lasting gift to his family.
Wayne was preceded in death by his son, Micheal Rice; his parents; and his siblings.
Special thanks to Wayne’s Hospice team from Central Washington Hospital Hospice.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, September 21, 2019, at 2:00 p.m., at Trinity United Methodist Church, 850 North James Ave., East Wenatchee, WA. A memorial tribute to follow at 3:30 p.m., at Wenatchee Golf and Country Club, 1600 Country Club Drive, East Wenatchee, WA. Donations may be made to Trinity United Methodist Church or Wenatchee Valley Humane Society. You are invited to view Wayne Rice’s online tribute at www.HeritageMemorialChapel.com to share a memory or leave condolences. Arrangements are in care of Heritage Memorial Chapel, East Wenatchee, WA.