David “Crocket” W. Rice, age 61, passed away unexpectedly on May 16th, 2020. His loving wife, daughters, and family immediately came together to be with him. Dave was born October 21, 1958 to LeRoy & Phyllis (Hoffman) Rice in Wausau and was raised with his 5 siblings on the family’s farm on Corning Road in Merrill where he’d eventually return to live out the remainder of his days. He attended Merrill High School. Dave married Cherie Barttelt in September 1978 and together they raised 2 incredible daughters, Lora and Ashley until they divorced. Dave went on to marry the love of his life, Kay (Stephany), on April 18, 1998 and became a step-father to Steve & Matt Athanasiou. He loved being “Papa” to Carson Mahn, Gage & Avree Weber and Bryce & Macy Athanasiou.
Dave was an incredibly hard worker who deeply loved family & friends. He worked for 23 years at Semco and had just retired from Lincoln County after 22 years, working his last day on April 6, 2020. He was also the most recent Town of Scott Supervisor. Dave had also worked part-time for JW Perry for a few years. Dave was a MacGyver of sorts and was always working on projects – working on vehicles, restoring his beloved Allis Chalmers tractor for pulling, remodeling, helping friends and family with their home projects and meticulously maintaining his yard, garden, apple trees, and most recently the blueberry bushes and grape vines he and Lora planted together. Dave was an avid outdoorsman and loved hunting Whitetail whether shooting a bow, rifle or muzzleloader. He loved time spent with the guys at the hunting shack. His love of hunting grew even more when he was able to take his grandsons Carson & Gage with him. His love of the outdoors extended to hunting bear & turkey, fishing, snowmobiling, 4-wheeling, boating & waterskiing as well as many years of camping in the Tomahawk area.
Dave had a heart of gold and he was well loved. He and Kay’s close group of friends spent many Fridays getting fish fry’s and playing cards and traveling regularly to resorts in the Caribbean. Perhaps the most endearing quality about Dave is how much his family meant to him. He loved his siblings deeply as best friends as well as their eventual spouses and children. Each one of his nieces and nephews, even great-nieces & nephews, knew his love and he made each one feel special and adored in their own unique ways. Many family memories revolve around waterskiing and time spent together at large family gatherings. His aunts, uncles and cousins were just extensions of his parents and siblings and each of them were adored just as much. Dave also loved to help plan the Rice Family Reunion every year. He was a connecter and had a magnetic personality everyone gravitated toward.
Dave loved to laugh and loved to tell stories of pranks from his childhood or during his days at Semco. He enjoyed sharing laughs with his coworkers at Holiday Gas Station before work and getting breakfast at Pine Ridge with Kay after church. He took great pride in everything he did and impeccably maintained every possession he had.
Survivors include: his wife Kay, daughters Lora Bladow of Wausau and Ashley (Jeff) Weber of Merrill, step-sons Steve (Amber) Athanasiou of Medford & Matt (Melanie Munsey) Athanasiou of Chicago. His grandchildren: Carson Mahn, Gage Weber, Macy Athanasiou, Bryce Athanasiou and Avree Weber, as well as his siblings: Cheryl (Richard) Coyer, Dennis (Janella) Rice, Patsy (Gary) Baguhn, Mary Kay (Steve) Lezotte & Wayne (Jenny) Rice and 9 nieces and nephews, 7 great nieces & nephews and a great niece & great nephew.
He was preceded in death by his parents, father-in-law Bill Stephany, and niece Phyllis Jo Rice.
In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to Trinity Lutheran Church or Wheel-Em-In.
A drive-thru visitation will be held at Waid Funeral Home on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 from 3PM to 7PM. To protect the health and safety of all, services are currently being limited as required by state and local authorities & the CDC which will require all to remain in their vehicles. Please come to the visitation from Hwy 64 onto Eagle Drive entering the south driveway to help with flow of traffic. There will be a staff member at the entrance to give you instructions & a memorial folder and there will be a staff member at the exit to collect cards or memories you may write down to be given to the family.
Funeral Service will be held outside on Thursday, May 21, 2020 in the Waid Funeral Home parking lot at 11AM (Please remain in your vehicles) or you can be at the service virtually by going onto the website the day of service under the obituary will be a "live stream" of the service. There will be a drive-thru visitation on Thursday from 10AM to 11AM.
Private Family Burial at Snow Hill Cemetery.
Waid Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Merrill is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences are encouraged and may be made at www.waidfuneral.com.