Robert Clifford Rice, 99
Robert Clifford Rice of Antigo passed away peacefully at the age of 99 on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at his home under the care of his family, LeRoyer Hospice and dear caregivers.
Bob was born on September 11, 1920, in Fargo, North Dakota to the late Clifford Louis and Maren Helene (Paulson) Rice.
Bob was a graduate of St. Thomas Academy prep school in St. Paul and the University of Minnesota with a degree in Chemical Engineering. Following college graduation, he received his commission as a second lieutenant in the US Army Signal Corp. He served his country developing radar installations in Florida, Pennsylvania, Labrador and the island of the Azores, attaining the rank of captain.
After World War II he worked as a salesman in the developing petroleum industry in Minneapolis and Chicago. He and partners Roger DeLacy and Dale Madeson began looking for a small city to bring natural gas to it.
On June 19,1949, he was united in marriage to Winnifred Graupman in Plato, Minnesota. The couple, along with his partners, purchased City Gas Company and immediately moved to Antigo. Eleven years later natural gas was delivered to Antigo. In the process, they developed Master Gas Service Company, which provided heating appliance sales and service, and delivered LP-Gas to hundreds of customers in the surrounding area.
Bob was an active and caring businessman. He served as president of the Antigo Area Industrial Corporation, through which most of the industrial buildings on Antigo’s north side were constructed. He was a member of the City Plan Commission, Kiwanis Club, Langlade Memorial Hospital Board of Directors, Steffen Memorial Board of Directors, past chairman of the Republican Party of Langlade County, and a past member of the Antigo Elks Club.
Bob was a member of Antigo Community Church and was active in assisting with their building maintenance.
Winnie Rice preceded him in death on July 13, 2003.
On August 7, 2004, he was united in marriage to Patricia (McCabe) McKinney. After fifteen wonderful years together, she survives and resides in Antigo.
Survivors in addition to his wife, Pat, include 3 sons; John of Hamden, CT, Andy (Mary Kay) of New Richmond, Jerry (Eunice) of Antigo; 4 grandchildren; Robert (Britta), Juliana, John, and Rebecca. He is also survived by Pat’s children; Rebecca (Robert) McPhail, Dawn (John) Bartholow, Toni (John) Culhane, Cinda (Alfonso) Velasco, Terra (Trevor Kalinski) McKinney, Matthew McKinney, and Andrew (Debbie) McKinney.
He is further survived by the many present and retired employees and their families of City Gas Company and Master Gas Service Company. It was his privilege to take care of them and provide good quality jobs.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a private family service will be held at this time. A memorial service will be planned after quarantine restrictions have been lifted.
Memorials in Bob’s name will be established at Silver Birch Ranch in White Lake, WI for minors who have been adopted or are in the Langlade County foster care system to attend a week of camping.
Strasser-Roller Funeral Home is assisting the family.