BISMARCK – Don Paul Rice, 73, of Bismarck passed away at 6:20 p.m. Thursday (Jan. 8, 2015) at his home with his wife, Joyce, Dorothy Schingel and Pat Tucker by his side.
Don was born Feb. 19, 1941, in Princeton, Ind., the son of Paul R. and Virginia June (Wallace) Rice. He married Joyce Haun on Sept. 27, 1960, at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Danville. She survives.
He is also survived by a daughter, Dianne (Steve) Ferencz of Shawnee, Kan.; four grandchildren, Harrison Vafaei (who Don and Joyce are raising), Rachel Ferencz, Brett Ferencz and Cameron Ferencz; one sister, Priscilla Gay of Tilton; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents and daughter, Christina Rice Vafaei.
Don attended St. Patrick's Grade School, Schlarman High School for three years and he graduated from Danville High School in 1960.
After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served until 1966. During his time in the Navy, he was in the Pacific on the USS Page County, USS Jefferson and his mother ship, the USS Piedmont. Don was very proud of the time he served in the Navy and would enjoy telling stories about that time.
Don started Drico Inc. in 1971 and served as president until 2013, when he retired. He was a member of Holy Family Catholic Church, United States LST Association, American Legion Post 210 and Anchor Lodge 980, where he was a 32-degree Mason.
In 1967, Don became a volunteer firefighter for the Bismarck Fire Protection District. He served 48 years with the fire department; 20 of those years was as a trustee for the department, where he served as past president.
During his time as president, he was instrumental in the planning and building of the new fire station in Bismarck. Don was very proud of the new station and enjoyed showing it to people. He also volunteered with the Bismarck Ambulance for 19 years and served on the Vermilion County Airport board for several years, where he pushed for the National Guard to be at the airport.
Don loved horses and spending time with his family and especially the grandchildren. He also loved to read and was very knowledgeable about history.
The family would like to say a special "Thanks" to everyone who has helped them, especially the Bismarck firefighters who were always there to lend Don a helping hand when he needed it. For that, the family is very grateful.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 19, at Holy Family Catholic Church, with Father Ted Pracz officiating.
Following the Mass, full military honors will be conducted by the American Legion Post 210. Private burial will be held in the Danville National Cemetery.
Visitation will be from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Bismarck Fire Station, 17384 East 2750 North Road, Bismarck. A rosary service will begin at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, followed by a Masonic Service at 6 p.m.
In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, memorials may be made to the Bismarck Firefighter Fund, Carle Hospice, Holy Family Catholic Church or to the donor's choice.
The family has entrusted the Blurton Funeral Home in Potomac to assist them in honoring Don's life. Memories or photos may be shared with the family on Don's memorial page at www.blurtonfuneralhomes.com.