Louise Christine Rice passed at her home in Troy, Montana on Friday, September 20th. She was born June 12, 1946 to Milo and Fern Rogers in Cass Lake, Minnesota. Louise comes from a large family of 10 children. She was the only surviving girl and her brothers loved and respected her deeply. Louise moved to Troy with her family at age 8. She attended Troy Public Schools, and it was there that she met the love her life William (Bill) Rice. They were high school sweethearts who went on to marry on May 13, 1967. Louise and Bill shared a powerful love, and it saw them through some very difficult times, such as Bill’s deployments in Vietnam. Their life together was one of great joy as well. They chose to make their home in Troy and to raise their three children, Christine, Dusti, and William V. Rice, Jr (B.J.) there.
Louise was much more than a homemaker. She was not afraid of hard work. She worked in a picket mill early on in her marriage. She subbed at the elementary school as an aide, was the manager of the Montana State liquor store, then went on to manage Troy’s Town Pump before accepting a job with the Libby Chamber of Commerce. Louise became Executive Director of the Chamber and was very proud to have organized and created, with the help of an amazing rodeo family, the Kootenai River Rodeo. She used her charismatic people/networking skills to build this small town rodeo into one of the PRCA’s finest for the Montana circuit.
Louise loved the outdoors and time with family and friends. She enjoyed hosting large family gatherings with the philosophy of “the more the merrier.” It was not unheard of, particularly on the Fourth of July, to drive by the Rice home and see enough cars to have a used car lot. Some summers there were tents galore as family traveled from as far as Alaska, Minnesota, and Ohio for a family reunion. Louise loved to hunt, and her family reaped the benefits with her homemade jerky recipe. She enjoyed riding her four wheeler, huckleberry picking and shooting.
In 2009, Louise lost Bill to his battle with cancer. This could have been a time she just gave up, but the warrior that she was, she pushed through the grief and in time began to live again. She became more independent and involved in her grandchildren’s lives and activities. Louise went to work at Stein’s IGA and began focusing a new chapter in her life that included keeping busy with friends, family, and travel.
Louise was a strong, kind and loving person with a big heart; but she was not afraid to speak her mind. She used her strengths to sustain her in times of trouble and her big heart to love her family and friends unconditionally. She was a great role model for her children and grandchildren, making sure to teach the importance of family and how to use your strength to see you through the good and the bad. Her laughter and quick wit will be missed by all who knew her.
Louise is preceded in death by her husband (Bill), her parents (Milo and Fern Rogers), sister (Christine), and brother (Everett).
Survivors include her children, Christine (Travis ) Kaufman of Lewiston, Idaho; Dusti (Tim) Thompson of Libby, Montana; and William Jr. (Myriam) of Albuquerque, New Mexico; 6 grandchildren, Britnee (Ryne) Christen; Anita Packwood; Taylor (Lacey) Thompson; Bryan (Megan) Thompson; William A. and Trinity Rice, her great grandchildren, Wyatt, Ethan, and Zoe as well as special nephew Josh (Melissa) Rice; her eight brothers Maynard, Bob, Will, Carl, Gene, Wayne (Chip), and Tim; along with her aunts, uncles, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A memorial service will be held at 12:00 noon on Saturday, October 12, 2019 at the Troy Methodist Church. Interment will immediately follow the service at Milnor Lake Cemetery. Arrangements are by Schnackenberg Funeral Home in Libby. Online condolences and memories may be shared at www.schnackenbergfh.com.