Charles “Chuck” Paul Rice, 89, passed peacefully from this world on July 14, 2020 at home with his family by his side. Charles was born in West Springfield in 1930 and attended early schooling in Biddeford, Maine, where Rice family members worked in lumber and for the Diamond Match Company. The family later moved to Athol, MA where Charles completed middle and high school before moving back to West Springfield as a young man. He served in the Coast Guard from 1951-1954 as an MP stationed at Pier 9 in Manhattan, New York City. Charles met Virginia Gardner in West Springfield and they were married in 1952 and soon raised a family. Through his employment years Charles worked as a draftsman and in data processing and inventory control for Turcotte Manufacturing in Agawam, Merriam-Graves Corporation in West Springfield, American Saw in Longmeadow and Monarch Insurance in Springfield. For a short time in the 1980’s, Charles worked with his close friend Chandler Waterman of Orange, MA in developing electric automobiles. Charles had many interests including piano and astronomy for which he ground mirrors and made telescopes of a variety of sizes. Charles was a member of the Springfield STARS Club and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows that met in West Springfield until that chapter merged. Charles leaves behind Virginia, his loving wife of 68 years, and his three children, Sheryle (Rice) Marceau Bixler and her husband Bob of West Springfield, Charles Rice and his wife Jue of Colorado and Tracy (Rice) Forgue and her husband Mike of Belchertown, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He also leaves his cousins, Gayle Paul of West Springfield and Gene Rice of Florida, and his lifelong close friend, Chan Waterman of Florida. Services will be private and at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Charles name to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or to Hospice of Western MA, 1325 Springfield St, #12, Feeding Hills, MA 01030. Toomey-O’Brien Funeral Home is in charge of all arrangements.
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