Mr. Ronald Maburn Rice, 88, passed away on Monday, March 15, 2021 at home after a lengthy illness with both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases. A private funeral mass with his immediate family will be presided over by his devoted uncle, Msgr. Earl V. Provenza, VF and entombment will be at Forest Park Mausoleum, 3700 St. Vincent’s Avenue, Shreveport, LA. At a later date a Memorial Mass and Celebration of his Life will be held at St. Joseph Catholic Church.
Ron Rice was a most loving and kind husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He had an unending love for his children, grandchildren, and his extended family. He was always quick to share his artistic talent to assist anyone with an art project – from high school campaign posters for his nieces and nephews to art renderings of local Catholic churches and anything for his alma maters Fair Park High School or Centenary College.
By profession Ron Rice was an artist for almost sixty years until the onset of Alzheimer’s prevented him from creating his art. He worked in almost every medium of commercial art. He began his career in Dallas, Texas where he worked in an animation studio, at the Dallas Times Herald, and at WFAA TV. Later he worked in art and marketing departments of local television, newspaper, outdoor advertising, and independent art studios. He was the graphic artist for both local newspapers – first at The Shreveport Journal and then he retired from The Times in 1998. During his entire professional career, he was also a free-lance artist and was commissioned for countless caricatures of individuals, families, athletes, and professional leaders of Shreveport and Bossier City. His caricatures were always treasured by the recipients for the humorous detail that he incorporated into each rendering. Of all the art work that he produced, he was probably most proud of his originals and prints of his beloved LSU Tigers in both football and baseball. He produced a series of illustrations featuring the LSU Tiger with his various opposing team mascots in cartoon situations with “Tiger Bait” being his most popular print. His last major art project was a series of Biblical learning cards with his friend, Rev. William E. “Wishy” Nolan. The first set of cards featured Jesus and the apostles with scripture references. Due to widespread interest, additional sets of playing/learning cards featured other men and women of the Old and New Testaments. Ron’s art work is now being archived in the Archives and Special Collections of Noel Memorial Library at LSUS where his lifetime art work will be preserved and available for research purposes to all art lovers and historians for generations.
Although Ron Rice’s profession was an artist, his true love was his volunteer coaching of baseball for almost fifty years. He coached every age group from Little League to American Legion. Coach Rice was admired and loved by his players and maintained lifelong friendships with many of them. He ended his coaching career as the coach of freshmen ballplayers at Captain Shreve High School in 2002. He was an accomplished athlete and still holds the state record for the longest touchdown in high school football while he was a student at Fair Park High School in 1950. Upon graduation from Fair Park, he attended Centenary College on a baseball scholarship. He signed a contract to play professional baseball with the Shreveport Sports in 1954. He also played baseball in the Panama Canal Zone for two years while he was in the Army.
Mr. Rice was born in Waco, Texas on January 31, 1933 and moved with his family to Shreveport, LA in 1937. He attended Judson and Queensborough public schools and graduated from Fair Park High School in 1951. He attended Centenary College and Ringling Art School in Sarasota, FL. He was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church where he was a member of the Men’s Fellowship, and he served on the Church Renovation and Rededication Committee in 2007-08.
Mr. Rice was preceded in death by his infant son Eric Christopher Rice, granddaughter Mary Lou Rice, parents Wilburn and Mabel Rice, sister Joan Shuler, nephew Mark Shuler, brother-in-law Jerry Vesey, in-laws Joe and Josephine DeFatta and their four sons Vincent (and wife Sharon), Joseph, David, and Ronnie DeFatta. He is survived by his beloved wife Angelina DeFatta Rice; daughter Shannon Rice Cascio and husband Rocky of Bossier City, LA; son Michael Patrick Rice and wife Leslie of Eldorado, AR; and daughter Karen Rice Fish and husband Bryan of Frisco, TX; grandchildren Marissa Rice, Alex Fish, Noah Cascio, and Parker Fish; sister Jeannette Vesey; sisters-in-law Sherrie DeFatta, Christine DeFatta, and Susie DeFatta. He is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorials be made to St. Joseph Catholic Church, 211 Atlantic Ave., Shreveport, LA 71105, Robinson Film Center, 617 Texas St., Shreveport, LA 71101 ; or to the charity of your choice.
The family would like to express their appreciation to Ron’s kind and loving caregivers Wanda Whitehurst Williams, Bessie Holden, Tona Chrisman, and Rolanda Hall and to all the health care providers who assisted on this long journey.
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