Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Barbara Rice

November 13, 1932 - June 11, 2024
Kalamazoo, MI



At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Centrica Care Navigators
7100 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 345-0273
Driving Directions
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Taylor's Florist and Gifts
215 E. Michigan Ave.
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-6256
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


With a warm smile and a kind heart, Barbara June Rice lived a life rich in family and friends. She loved people, made friends easily, and naturally knew how to make others feel comfortable. Whether baking a sweet treat, cheering on her loved one’s hopes and dreams, hitting the golf course, or bicycling, Barb welcomed each moment as a gift and relished spending time with those she so dearly loved. An inspiration to all who were blessed to know her, Barb will long be remembered and so very missed.

Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, the power of hope undulated in the hearts of many. With a natural drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. Nowhere was there more hope for the future than in the hearts and home of Claude and Ethel (Hess) Myers as they welcomed their daughter Barbara to their family on November 13, 1932, in Galien, Michigan.

Along with sharing a close relationship with her older sister Jackie, Barbara enjoyed growing up on a small farm in Galien. Her loving parents created a warm and supportive home. While her mother tended to the children and home, her father worked as an engineer for Auto Specialties in Benton Harbor. Barbara was proud to share that her father had been on the team that developed the disk brake.

Barbara played the trumpet in high school, and after graduating from Galien High School, she pursued secretarial studies at Western Michigan University.

Barb had the good fortune of being set up on a very successful blind date with Bob Rice, who had recently completed his honorable service with the U.S. Marines during the Korean Conflict. Their first date was a dance, and Barb found herself instantly smitten. The pair began dating steadily and soon found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to share their lives, the happy couple married on September 19, 1954, in Barb’s hometown.

The happy couple settled first in South Bend, Indiana and later in Portage, Michigan, where they were blessed to welcome and raise three children. Pam, Janet, and Jeff were the centers of Barbara’s world, and she poured herself into creating a loving and supportive home for her family. She organized everything! She carefully planned for the family, ran the household, and was very involved with her kids. An excellent cook, Barbara always managed to create delicious meals and many baked treats.

In time, Barb and Bob moved out of the city to a more rural home outside of Mattawan. Some of their favorite memories were made at their cottage on Shavehead Lake, which was often the gathering place for family fun. Every year, Barb spent an entire day making cookies for Christmas, alternating between her home and Jackie’s. She was also exceptionally talented in knitting, crocheting, and other needlework. Though Bob wasn’t very social, Barb enjoyed a full social life. She liked all card games, including canasta and euchre, and was a card shark.

During their retirement years, Barb and Bob spent six months of the year near Tampa/Bradenton, Florida, in the same area where her parents had a place. They both golfed, biked, and played Bingo a lot and enjoyed staying very active in their little community, where they developed close relationships with many of their neighbors.

Sadly, Bob passed away in the Spring of 2016. Though Barb missed him very much, she found much strength in her family, friends, and faith and continued to embrace each day’s blessings. After breaking her hip two years ago, Barb’s health began to decline. Requiring additional support, she moved into Vineyard Assisted Living Community in Texas Township. During her final six months, Barb also received excellent care from hospice. On June 11, 2024, Barb peacefully passed away in the comforts of the loving care of Vineyards Assisted Living Community staff.

Though life feels far less certain in the absence of Barb’s companionship, we find much comfort in our many treasured memories. May we also find comfort in carrying her beautiful legacy forward. In each moment we confidently face life’s challenges, share our gifts with others, play a game of cards, greet a stranger as a friend, and choose faith over fear, we celebrate the countless ways Barb inspired us to live wholeheartedly.

Barbara was preceded by her husband, Robert Rice, sister, Jackie Miller, and great-grandson, Dylan Dean. Members of Barbara’s family include 3 children: Pam (Rickey) Goldwater, Janet (Dean) LaVere, and Jeff (Kris) Rice; 6 grandchildren: Shannon (Greg) Amburgey, Stephanie, Michael and Ashley Anne LaVere, and Kara and Mitchell Rice; 4 great-grandchildren: Taylor, Ashton, Grace, and Ava; and treasured friends, Kay, Joan, and Marion. Cremation has taken place. A private graveside service will be held Monday, July 22, 2024 at Galien Cemetery. Celebrate Barbara’s life online by sharing your favorite stories and photos on her dedicated webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Memorial contributions may be made to Centrica Care Navigators.