It is with joy that we announce the homecoming of Ronald (Ronnie) Dean Rice at age 84 on May 17, 2022.
Services will be at 10:30 AM Friday, May 20, 2022 at First Baptist Church in Pampa with Pastor Rusty Rice and Rev. Byron Williamson officiating. Burial will follow at Fairview Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Carmichael-Whatley Funeral Directors and Crematory.
Ronnie was born December 2, 1937, at Worley Hospital, in Pampa. Ronnie grew up in the oil fields of Lefors where he would graduate from Lefors High School in 1956. According to Ronnie he would walk 5 miles to and from school barefooted and often in the snow and rain.
Ronnie found success on the gridiron of Lefors where he would be offered a full football scholarship to Texas Tech University. He was a running back for the Red Raiders and was the leading rusher for 3 consecutive years. He is still the all-time record holder for average kickoff returns with 30.3 yards per kickoff. His Senior year he was selected to play in the Blue/Gray All Star game in Montgomery, AL. After college he was drafted for the New York Titans (now the Jets). As he would say it did not take him long to realize he was too small and too slow. His journey brought him back to the panhandle of Texas where he started working for Taylor Evans in the feed and seed business. This led him to own and operate Rice Feed and Garden and R&R Fertilizer. He entered politics when he was appointed County Commissioner for Gray County. He willingly served in this position for 9 years. Other ventures included farming, ranching and working for Celanese. Ronnie was also a founding partner of Reliant Holdings.
He married his childhood sweetheart, Joy Dawn Vanderburg in 1959 in Pampa, TX. Through 62 years of marriage, they went on to raise 4 children together. He was a longtime member of First Baptist Pampa and a devoted member of the Everyman’s Bible study Class. Farming, Ranching and the love of all things Texas Tech brought much joy to Ronnie’s life. He rarely missed a home game whether it was football or basketball. He and his son, Ron Jr, both longed for the day that their beloved Red Raider’s would win a National Championship.
Ronnie is preceded in death by parents, Gus and Bernice Rice; brothers, Don and Joe Rice; son, Ron Jr.
Ronnie is survived by his wife, Joy Rice; daughter, Tracy Rice Magnus; daughter-in-law, Colene Rice; sons Darin Rice (Rogena), Rusty Rice (Laura); grandchildren, Ann Sneed (Craig), Britteni Rice, Kaitlin Lovern (Maxx), Elizabeth Skloss (Ryan), Rachel Sprouse (Dennis), Ashlynn Rice, Arin Haley (Bill), Tracy Lester (Will), Hudson Rice, Megan Rice, Haddon Rice and Reagan Rice; great grandchildren, Virginia and George Sneed, Gus and Wes Sprouse, Lincoln and Graham Lovern, Emma Skloss, Hallie Lester and Lee Haley; Sister, Rebecca Crow; numerous family and friends.
The Family would like to thank Tanya Garza and Interim Hospice (Nicole, Trina, Dusty, Anna, Penny, Megan, Sissy, Ann and Gail) for their love and attentive care to Ronnie and Joy. They also like to share their gratitude to Rocio Pepi for her 20 years of support and friendship and always ready to help when needed.
Memorials can be made to Everyman’s Sunday Class c/o First Baptist Church, PO Box 621, Pampa, Texas 79066-0621.
Sign the online guest register at www.carmichael-whatley.com.