Perry Earl Rice, a hot-rod with most of his original parts but some significant body damage, took one last victory lap before crossing life’s finish line on July 22, 2020.
Perry was born Oct. 2, 1946 in Fort Lewis, Wash., to the late Harry Earl Rice and Ina Mae (Tollett) Rice. During his elementary years he traveled the US and overseas with his military family until finding his true home in Nashville, Ark. He worked as a mechanic at York Gary and Weyerhaeuser, but his creativity and skill were best exhibited when he opened his own garage and welding business. He had a car collection like no other, which earned him the title “The Rodfather.” Later in life he took on an additional role as a milk distributor (perhaps because he loved a good joke about “the milkman”). He also loved his country and proudly served in the US Army Reserve for 27 years.
He was most proud of his three loving, fearless daughters and once said that if he only taught them one thing in life, he hoped that it would be no matter what to stick together and to love one another. In this wish, he most certainly succeeded. Perry was a one-of-a-kind jokester, with a sharp wit and a hot temper that earned him another nickname: “The Tasmanian Devil.” His fiery personality was balanced with a fierce love for others. He cared for those that had not been dealt the best hand in life and always felt most comfortable in the middle of a rowdy crowd. Even after his two-steppin’ days were over, he was a loyal friend and patron of The Fraternal Order of Eagles.
Perry was preceded in death by his loving wife of 48 years, Glenda (Billings) Rice. In the last five years he truly missed her vibrant personality and loyal companionship. He is survived by his brother, Jimmy Rice; daughters Terry Broach (Keith), Ginger Blue (Charles), and Robyn Miller (Todd); eight grandchildren – Tyler, Ace, Bailey, Keeley, Reagan, Kennedy, Madi and Remington, and two great-grandchildren – Arli Kate and Briggs. He left behind a multitude of family and friends including his “ride-or-die” buddies: James Boone, Jerry Boone, Joe Hoen, Mark King, Jimmy Friend, Gerson Lima, Jonathan Baylon, and his beloved canine companion, Newbie.
Viewing will be open to the public at Latimer Funeral Home in Nashville, Ark., on July 24, 2020, from 2:00-6:30. A celebration of his life will be held at the Jim Hill Pavilion at the Nashville City Park on July 25, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. In memory of Perry, please dress casual and wear a black t-shirt in his honor. In lieu of flowers, please make a charitable donation in his memory to Howard County Foster Parent Assoc. or Arkansas Children’s Hospital. The family requests that everyone follow the state guidelines for social distancing and wearing of masks.