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Curtis “Curt” Lester Rice passed away August 29, 2019. The official cause of death was O.D.T.A.A. (one damn thing after another) and lung cancer.
Curt was born in Lewistown, Montana on June 30, 1942, to Lester and Thelma Rice. He moved to Kalispell when he was about 5 years old and attended Elrod, Central Junior High School, and graduated from Flathead County High School in 1960.
Curt was a member and Commander of the Civil Air Patrol at FCHS and joined the Air Force in March of 1962 where he served his country for 5 years as a jet engine mechanic for the U-2 Reconnaisance plane. Curt was so proud to serve his country and let everyone know that he'd do it again without hesitation. His U-2 Wing was the first Air Force unit into Vietnam in 1964 and he received an Expeditionary Service medal for this.
He met the love of his life Nola Anderson early on at Elrod and dated her in high school and the real romance began after she graduated. After a year and a half delay for military commitments, Curt was finally given leave to marry Nola on August 24, 1963 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Kalispell. After his discharge from the Air Force, the family moved to Sumner, Washington where he worked for a Boeing subcontractor building jet engines. The family moved to Missoula, Montana where he attended the University of Montana graduating in 1972 with a degree in accounting. His first job was for a large lumber company in Plummer, Idaho. The next move was back to Kalispell in 1976 to work for Forest Products for many years, then owned his own remanufacturing lumber company for 15 years, worked for a local machinery business for a few years, and retired in June of 2004.
Curt was always an outdoorsman and loved fishing, hunting, and camping in the beautiful Flathead Valley. His many skills were learned while he was in Scouting (including how to hard boil an egg which he gladly passed on this feat to as many as possible). He became a Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader for his son and was so good at teaching the scouts the same ideals that he had learned. He also helped coach Little League Minor and Major baseball for 5 years.
He was preceded in death by his father Lester Rice; mother, Thelma Close; stepfather, Cecil Close; infant son, Jeremy Rice; grandparents; mother- and father-in-laws; aunts and uncles.
Curt is survived by his wife of 56 years Nola; daughter Kim Wold (Ron); son Mark Rice (Cali); grandsons Brady and Levi Parkin and Marcus and Jaryon Venturini; sisters Dee French and Nancy Parr (Dennis); sister-in-law Linda Duplessie; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends (especially Doug Taylor who has been his lifelong buddy). Curt was honest, kind, smart, hard working, very giving, and had a great sense of humor. He will be so missed by his family and friends. Curt was very thankful for the wonderful care he was given at Brendan House by the staff and so many caring nurses especially Curt and Craig. He also leaves behind his faithful 15-year old 'puppy' Lacy
Private burial services will be held at Glacier Memorial Gardens followed by a lunch and Celebration of Life at noon Tuesday September 3, 2019 at the Moose Lodge in Evergreen. Buffalo Hill Funeral Home is caring for the family. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in his name to Boy Scouts of America, Montana Council - Northwest District, 1203 Hwy. 2 W., Suite 29, Kalispell, MT; Civil Air Patrol, P.O. Box 1982, Kalispell, MT 59903; or a charity of your choice. Friends are encouraged to visit our website at www.buffalohillfh.com to leave notes of condolences for the family. Buffalo Hill Funeral Home and Crematory caring for the family.