Ironton lost good person in Dick Rice

Published 10:19 am Thursday, July 7, 2011

When you watch the TV Guide channel, there is a show or moving on above the scrolling viewing schedule.

The other day the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman” was showing and it made me think about the last part of the title, “A Gentleman.”

Last week a good man named Dick Rice died after a long bout with cancer and I got to thinking about him.

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Dick Rice was the epitome of a gentleman, something that is not easily found in today’s society.

While his brother Phil was more well-known as Ironton’s boys’ basketball coach for so many years, the older brother was operating his business, namely Dick’s Music Shop.

Phil Rice was an intense individual as a coach. He yelled, he screamed, he cheered his players.

When you talked to Dick Rice the voice rarely changed an octave. He had a kind, gentle manner of speaking. He was the conversation version of the crooners of his era like Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin.

If you were in any local high school band or any rock ‘n roll band, you probably encountered Dick Rice. He knew his instruments and he always dealt honestly with his customers. He put you at ease and you believed what he said, mainly because what he said was true.

Dick attended football and basketball games and cheered for the home team. But it was never his way to criticize the coach or players. He talked of them fondly. They were doing their best. They’re just kids.

That is the type of support any program likes. He was there to make a donation and never ask a favor in return.

Even when he could see that he was losing his battle with cancer, Dick stayed positive and the voice never changed. Except when he laughed. Dick has a great laugh.

Dick Rice was a good husband, a good father and a good man who had a great faith in God and showed it as the men’s choir director at St. Joseph Church.

Those were the things are what I’ll always remember about Dick Rice.

Oh, and I remember that other thing. He was a true gentleman.

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.