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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Obituary: Wendell Ray Rice (1926-2024)

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Wendell Ray Rice, 97, of Waldron, Arkansas peacefully entered his eternal rest on June 16, 2024. Ray was born July 28, 1926, in the Birdsview Community near Waldron, Arkansas to Jimmie and Hazel Rice. Ray graduated from Waldron High School in 1944, and was a World War II veteran, serving in the Army Air Forces. His service included Chaplain’s assistant and airplane mechanic. After discharge he studied business in Little Rock, Arkansas and Wilburton, Oklahoma. On March 15, 1947, he married the love of his life, Vestal Owens and was happily married for 77 years. The couple made their home in the Waldron area where Ray served the community as a Rural Postal Carrier.

Ray is survived by his wife Vestal and his four children: Wendell Ralph Rice (wife Phyllis) of Bella Vista, Sherry Plummer of Ft. Smith, Christy Rogers of Sherwood, and Karen Johnson (husband Brian) of Bentonville. Also surviving him are six grandchildren: Jennifer London, Tracie Spaulding, Jon Plummer, Haley Spradlin, Anna Tobkin and Sarah Johnson, eight great-grandchildren, and many in-laws and extended family. Ray was preceded in death by his parents, his sisters Claudean Rice and Roberta Harris, brothers-in-law Udell Harris, Rena Owens, and Chuck Priddy, sisters-in-law Johnnie Faye Owens and Wanda Priddy, son-in-law, Ronnie Plummer, grandson-in-law Darriell Mathis, and a foster great-grandson Hayden Taylor.

Ray will be remembered as a faithful deacon for 30 years and as a teacher of the Gospel to Junior High Boys and Senior Adults in the First Baptist Church (FBC) of Waldron. He took great joy in seeing hearts and minds open to the truths in the scripture. For 28 years he served as treasurer at FBC, where he considered it his sacred duty to carefully steward that which was entrusted to him. Ray also co- served for many years on the Scott County Regional Water District board of directors, helping secure good water for most of rural Scott County. Ray was a grower of tomatoes, a lover of birds, dogs, cats, and any other creature that would pass through his yard. His presence amongst his family is already and will continue to be greatly missed.

A celebration of life service will be held 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, July 3, 2024 at the Mildred B. Cooper Chapel, 504 Memorial Dr., Bella Vista, Arkansas. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Birdsview Cemetery Fund at 1378 City Lake Rd, Waldron, AR, or St Jude Children’s Research Hospital at www.stjude.org in memory of Wendell Ray Rice.

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Tammy Teague
Tammy Teague
Tammy is the heart behind the brand. Her tenacity to curate authentic journalism, supported by a genuine heart is one her many wholesome qualities.
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