Joe Albert Rice, 87, of Carrier Mills passed away on April 1, 2019 at Deaconess Main Hospital in Evansville, Indiana.
He was with his wife, Lulu Belle (Murphy) of nearly 60 years, who never left his side. They were married June 17, 1960.
Joe was born on Sept. 10, 1931 to Cecil "Skreeker" and Muriel (Reeder) Rice, and grew up in Ledford. He was Baptist by faith.
He attended the Harrisburg schools before enlisting in the Army during the Korean War. He was stationed in Alaska with the Corps of Engineers. It was there that Joe learned about diesel mechanics.
He then worked for Caterpillar in East Peoria before marrying his girlfriend of four years, Lulu Belle (Murphy) Rice, and they moved back to southern Illinois to raise a family.
Joe retired as water superintendent of the Carrier Mills Water District.
Family and friends knew Joe to have a jovial personality, possessing a robust laugh, as he loved life and all it had to offer. He was known to have an exceptional work ethic, "working as hard for a dime as you do a dollar" as he use to say.
Joe loved watching the St. Louis Cardinals play and coached them through his television set. He loved watching and reading the news. He loved to talk politics and religion, even at the dinner table.
He was a provider by nature, not only providing for his family but helping others who needed help. Joe never saw a class system or believed anyone was better than another. He had a true humanitarian approach to life.
His battle with cancer was hard fought, and he no longer wished to suffer from the fight.
He is survived by his loving wife, Lulu Belle; a daughter, Lisa (Rice) Hankins and son-in-law Larry Hankins; a son, Jonah Rice and daughter-in-law Megin (Ewing) Rice; three grandchildren, Jacob, Haley and Connor Rice; and a sister, Donna (Bob) Oneal of Marion.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Richard Dale Rice.
Visitation will be held at 9 a.m. Monday, April 15 at Absher-Nicholson Funeral Home in Carrier Mills, followed by the funeral service at 11 a.m. Military rites will end the service.
A bereavement dinner will be held at New Salem Church in Carrier Mills after services.
There will be no cemetery burial, as Joe wished to be cremated. A burial will take place in the future.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Rice-Murphy Scholarship Fund already established at Southeastern Illinois College, or the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Marion in memory of Joe Albert Rice.