Farewell to a Friend: Rick Rice

Rick Rice-01Artist and educator Rick Rice passed away on January 17, 2016. Rice taught graphic design to many FSU students and was the beloved husband of the iSchool’s Dr. Christie Koontz.

Rice knew he was an artist since the age of four, and he graduated with his BFA in Graphic Design from Florida State in 1974. He went on to teach graphic design at Lively Technical Center and then built a graphic design program at Tallahassee Community College. Rice was a talented artist who won several awards throughout his lifetime, including the American Advertising Silver Medal from the Tallahassee chapter. He also participated in private and public agency work, including the design of the old TMH logo. He ended his career teaching online at FSU.

Rice loved radio airplanes, politics, the news and great movies. He also enjoyed traveling with his wife, whose public library work at FSU had her traveling the world. He enjoyed taking photographs on these trips and felt inspired to create some watercolor paintings based on the photos he took. He also enjoyed spending time with people at the Senior Center art classes and was a member of the Southern Exposure Gallery in Railroad Square. He showed his work there for the first time this fall.

Despite having arthritis since the age of two, Rice played the guitar for as long as he could. Even after his fingers curled, he continued singing beautifully to the music of James Taylor or of his dear friends Bob Hill and JP Walters. Rice was in and out of hospitals his whole life due to his juvenile arthritis. He had his knees, shoulders and elbows replaced once and both hips replaced twice. He also had a defibrillator.

Donations may be made in honor of Rick Rice to the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation at this link, or to a scholarship fund created by Rice, Koontz and another private donor at this link.

Services will be held at the Miccosukee Land Co-op Community Center at 9601 Miccosukee Road on Saturday, January 23, 2016, Rice’s birthday. Visiting and coffee will occur at 9 a.m., followed by services at 10 a.m.