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James H. Rice of Du Quoin

updated: 11/29/2017 12:36 PM

James H. Rice, 91, of Du Quoin passed away at 5:46 p.m. Monday, Nov. 27, 2017, at Marshall Browning Hospital in Du Quoin.

James was a veteran of World War II, having served in the United States Navy from 1943 through 1946. While in the military, James was with the special amphibious forces of the Navy. He spent approximately 19 months in Guam. In late 1945, James was transferred to the Bikini Islands for the nuclear bomb tests performed by the government in 1946. His job there was to board the damaged ships after the nuclear bomb explosions to inspect and check for damage done to the ships.

After World War II, James was employed by Air Mite Midwest, which is now Monsanto Inc., from February 1947 until April 1954. He was employed at the Du Quoin Coca-Cola Bottling Company from 1954 until 1970. From late 1970 until 1973, James took employment with R. H. & S. Steel Fabricators. In 1974, he began working as a supervisor with the Arch Minerals Coal Company at the Captain Mine near Steeleville. James worked for Arch Minerals until 1976. In late 1976, he took other supervisory employment with the Consolidation Coal Company at the Burning Star No. 5 mine, then located near DeSoto. He remained a supervisor/foreman at the Consolidation Coal No. 5 mine until taking retirement in 1985.

James had lived in and around Du Quoin all of his life and had been active in civic and public affairs within the community all his life. He attended schools in Dowell, Elkville and Du Quoin. James was a member of First United Methodist Church in Du Quoin and previously served as one of the church board members. He was a past president of the Du Quoin Lions Club, past master of Masonic Lodge No. 234 and a past Grand High Priest Royal Arch Mason. James had also had served on the board of the Du Quoin Business Association.

He was born Jan. 10, 1926, in Dowell, the son of John Leonard and Jessie W. (Hartley) Rice.

He married Earlean Afton Coleman Dec. 2, 1947, in Du Quoin, and she preceded him in death April 21, 2016.

He is survived by one daughter, Sandra Gayle Swayne and husband Mike of Du Quoin; one son, Leonard Dale Rice and wife Sherry of Du Quoin; one son-in-law, Dale Heine of Red Bud; four grandchildren, Staci Beck of Red Bud, Darren Swayne of Du Quoin, Steve Heine and wife Kim of Red Bud, and Danielle Swayne of Du Quoin; and six great-grandchildren, Maddi Beck, Braden Beck, Caity Gesell, Zach Heine, Taylor Hiller and Bailey Overturf.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife; one daughter, Deborah Heine; and one brother, Joe Dale Rice.

Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2 at Searby Funeral Home in Du Quoin with the Rev. Tim Woodard officiating.

Friends may call from 10 a.m. until the time of service Saturday at Searby Funeral Home in Du Quoin.

Masonic services will be at Noon on Saturday at the Searby Funeral Home in Du Quoin.

Military graveside rites will be conducted by the Du Quoin V.F.W. and American Legion posts and the United States Navy.

Burial will be at I.O.O.F. Cemetery at Du Quoin.

In lieu of flowers, friends may make memorials to Du Quoin Masonic Lodge No. 234. They will be accepted at the funeral home.

For additional information or to sign the memorial guest register, please visit