Mary Jo "Mitzi" Rice Profile Photo

Mary Jo "Mitzi" Rice

January 23, 1955 — November 25, 2023

 

Mary Jo “Mitzi” Rice passed away in her sleep on Saturday, November 25, 2023 in Fort Collins, Colorado, where she and husband Dixon spent Thanksgiving with their oldest son, Devin.

She was born on January 23, 1955, in Butte, Montana, the only child of Joseph and Mary Leary. She grew up in Butte, attending Catholic grade schools and graduating from Butte Central High. She then went on to earn both Bachelors and Masters Degrees at Montana State University in Bozeman.

When she searched for a high school teaching position, the only opening for a business teacher in the entire state of Montana was at Columbia Falls High School, where she was hired and taught for nearly 30 years, eventually becoming department chair.

One of her best friends from college, Andy Rice, introduced her to his older brother in Moose’s Saloon, and on June 25, 1983, she married Dixon Rice and they made their home in Kalispell.

Mitzi belonged to Risen Christ Catholic Church in Evergreen. She was an officer in Kappa Alpha Theta, her college sorority, and was active in a number of Flathead Valley nonprofit groups. About 25 years ago, she became owner of Buffalo Hill Funeral Home, and prided herself on assembling a caring and competent staff.

She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease nearly 15 years ago and fought hard against that progressive and incurable disease, getting involved in exercise and Tai Chi classes and Rock Steady Boxing workouts. In recent years, her husband Dixon became her full-time caregiver so she was able to stay at home.

Mitzi is survived by her husband Dixon at the family home; two daughters, Shannon Wilkinson and her husband Troy in Las Vegas NV, and Megan Hollenkamp and her husband Logan in Eagan MN; two sons, Devin Rice and his partner Becca in Fort Collins CO, and Jared Rice in Minneapolis MN; grandchildren Mackenzie, Kayleigh and Abigail Wilkinson in Las Vegas, and Calvin, Rose and Olive Hollenkamp in Eagan; seven first cousins, Dan Leary, Noreen Leary, Helen Noel McDevitt, Patricia Noel Drain, Nancy Noel Marra, Sherry Matson Hanley, and Mary McGuinn Edens; and multitudes of other relatives, friends and former students.

Visitation and viewing will take place Friday from 6:00-8:00 pm at Buffalo Hill Funeral Home in Kalispell, followed by a Rosary.  A memorial mass will be celebrated Saturday at 11:00 am at Risen Christ Catholic Church in Evergreen, with Fr. Stanislaw Rog officiating. Burial will follow at C.E. Conrad Memorial Cemetery.

Mitzi loved children and so the family encourages contributions in her memory to an educational or youth charity.

Those who are unable to attend Mitzi's service in person will be able to view the service via live stream on Buffalo Hill Funeral Home Facebook page.

 

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100057482828450&mibextid=gik2fB

 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary Jo "Mitzi" Rice, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, December 1, 2023

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Mountain time)

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Buffalo Hill Funeral Home & Crematory

1890 Hwy 93 North
Kalispell, MT 59901

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

Rosary

Friday, December 1, 2023

8:00 - 9:00 pm (Mountain time)

Add to Calendar

Buffalo Hill Funeral Home & Crematory

1890 Hwy 93 North
Kalispell, MT 59901

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass

Saturday, December 2, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Mountain time)

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Risen Christ Catholic Church

W Evergreen Dr
Kalispell, MT 59901

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

Burial

Saturday, December 2, 2023

12:30 - 1:30 pm (Mountain time)

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C.E Conrad Cemetery


Kalispell, MT 59901

*Standard text messaging rates apply.

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