George Emerson Rice Served Nation and Town

George Emerson Rice of Tisbury, born in New Bedford in 1923, the youngest son in a family with 11 children, died Saturday morning, Nov. 9, of complications from pulmonary disease.

Mr. Rice was a highly decorated, twice-wounded veteran of World War II, serving throughout the European Theatre. He served as a volunteer Tisbury firefighter for 32 years and was an auxiliary police officer. As a life member of the American Legion, he was instrumental in the development of Veteran's Memorial Park as well as the annual Christmas tree sale to benefit Island youth. He was active with the Legion, preparing meals, running Bingo nights and helping Island veterans get the support to which they were entitled.

Mr. Rice served on the Tisbury finance committee and helped organize support for the development of the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School. He was a retired employee of the telephone company, with 42 years of service throughout the Vineyard and Nantucket. He worked the full range of jobs from pole and line gang to management, but chose to stay on the Island and ended his phone company career as an installer and repairman. He could, and often did, give directions across the Island by referencing pole numbers.

As a young man, Mr. Rice walked the beaches, shore fishing; in later years he could be found on weekends "scratching a few" quahaugs in the Lagoon or in Tashmoo. More recently he could be found at Mink Meadows Golf Club as winter manager, starter and ranger. He wanted everyone to enjoy their game of golf, no matter their level of proficiency, but was never shy in advising slowpoke players to "pick up the pace" or, more directly, "pick up your ball and move to the next tee" in a clear but cheerful and caring way.

Mr. Rice loved the peace and tranquility of the Island, was a staunch patriot, served his nation and community with strength and integrity and was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and friend.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Agnes (Narcie Flaherty) Rice; his daughter, Dr. Joan Ella Rice of Newton, and his won, Edward E. (Ned) Rice of Cambridge; five grandchildren, and his sisters, Winona Robinson of Fairhaven and Grace McMullen of Ocala, Fla.