SPRINGFIELD – Kendall D. (Coach) Rice, 82, of Springfield and a former longtime resident of Winchendon, died peacefully at his residence Tuesday morning, January 4, 2022, with his family at his side.
He was born in Winchendon on March 29,1939, son of the late Rupert A. and Althea R. (Davis) Rice and had lived in Springfield since 2014, returning to this area from Bradenton, FL.
Ken was born into the Rice Family and deeply valued his historical roots in Winchendon. Ken followed his elder sister, Althea, to Georgia to attend high school at Baker High School and college at Piedmont University. As a driven athlete, he was a member of championship teams both at the high school and collegiate level. Ken spent his life helping others through teaching and through his long standing role as storied coach and athletic director. Ken began his career in Georgia and returned to his hometown of Winchendon Massachusetts, teaching and coaching two years at Oakmont Regional High School. He then spent 27 years at Narragansett Regional High School as an athletic director, teacher and coach. He led many successful teams including baseball, football and basketball; and as an athletic director he helped to greatly expand the Narragansett sports program. Ken cared deeply for others and his life work was supporting student achievement and community involvement through athletics.
Following his coaching and educational career, he founded Rice Services in Winchendon, which now is led by his son Kendall (Skip) Rice Jr. Ken was an accomplished golfer and was a member at Athol Country Club for many years. An avid sports fan, Ken followed many teams, especially New England Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics and supported local college and high school teams. He was also a member of Artisan Lodge of Masons.
Ken loved his family deeply and enjoyed raising his two children with his wife Marilyn. He adored his extended family and especially loved his role in guiding the grandchildren and younger generations in their endeavors. He leaves his wife of 61 years, Marilyn (Hoffman) Rice; two children, Kendall (Skip) Rice Jr and his wife Chris of Winchendon and Kristine D. Rice of Longmeadow; five grandchildren, Cory Rice and wife Ashley, Kayla Landry and husband Chad, Hayleigh LaCroix and partner Keenan Williams, Ari Vazquez and Kendall Vazquez; six great grandchildren, Lillian Roberts, Cole Landry, Charlotte Landry, Teagan Rice, Camden Rice and Evelyn Williams; as well as nieces and nephews. Ken was preceded in death by brothers Norman Rice, John (Jack) Rice and sister Althea Waters (Peg Rice).
Due to the COVID pandemic, funeral services will be private for the family. All memories and thoughts are welcome to be shared on the facebook page for his wife Marilyn Rice https://www.facebook.com/marilyn.rice.355 . Ken loved his community of players, coaches, parents and friends. His family is very eager to welcome anyone who wishes to honor him and will be hosting a Celebration of Life to be held at a later date, (likely in late Spring or early Summer). Please look for details on his family member’s social media.
Donations in lieu of flowers will be used to establish an athletic scholarship in his honor and donations can be directed to the Coach Ken Rice Memorial Scholarship Fund, Athol Savings Bank, 388 Main Street, Athol, Ma 01331.
Stone-Ladeau Funeral Home, 343 Central Street, Winchendon is directing arrangements.