Cover photo for James B. Rice, Jr.'s Obituary
James B. Rice, Jr. Profile Photo

James B. Rice, Jr.

James Briggs Rice, Jr., 78, of Sedalia, MO, passed away peacefully at home with his wife by his side, the evening of Thursday, April 25, 2019.

He entered this world on December 31, 1940, as a New Years Eve baby, who always enjoyed celebrating his birthday.

Jim graduated from Smith-Cotton High School in 1958 and received his Bachelor’s and Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1965. He was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha.

He entered the Army in 1965, and served in the Vietnam War at An Khe in the First Cavalry. He was stationed at Fort Sill, OK, graduating first in the artillery class. He served as a military law instructor before becoming a member of the Judge Advocate Staff. He was honorably discharged in 1967 at the rank of Captain. Jim always thanked other service people and frequently paid for their meals.

Jim practiced law for over 50 years and had his own practice. He was elected president of the Pettis County Bar in 1975.

He was a lifelong member of the Methodist Church and was a devoted Christian and prayer warrior. He and Beverly sponsored a child in India. He organized “Sedalia Cares for Louisiana” after Hurricane Andrew.

Jim gave to others in so many ways. He was always supportive of his children and grandchildren’s extracurricular activities. He deeply loved and was extremely devoted to his family.

He was a member of the Optimist Club and conducted its oratorical club. He was also a Shriner and Mason.

Jim was an avid hunter and enjoyed outings with the boys. He enjoyed his food, especially desserts and cookies!

He traveled extensively including trips to England, Wales, Scotland, Greece and several Caribbean cruises. He enjoyed five weeks in Florida this winter.

Jim gave really good hugs and was a very affectionate guy. He was the life of the party and was the same person on Wednesday as he was on Sunday!

He was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. Briggs and Oma (Smoyer) Rice; and his sister, Mary Zabek.

Surviving are his wife, Beverly, of the home; daughter, Cynthia Helmig, her husband Shane and their children Gavin and Lane, of Springfield, MO; son, Dr. James Rice, III, his wife Christine and their children Megan and John, of Springfield, MO; stepson, Matt Magee, his wife Cherie and their children Madison, Raegan and TJ, of the Kansas City area; stepdaughter, Robin Lane and her children Rachel and Samuel, of the Kansas City area; niece, Mary K. (Kathy) Rapp of Willard, MO; nephew, James W. Zabek, his wife Shelly and their daughters Samantha and Alexandria, of Plainfield, IL; and niece, Amy L. Lyons, her husband Aaron and their son, Briggs, of Springfield, MO.

The family will receive friends from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 28, at the First United Methodist Church Celebration Center, followed by funeral services at 2:30 p.m. with the Rev. Jim Downing officiating.

Casket bearers will be Shane Helmig, Gavin Helmig, Lane Helmig, John Rice, Ken Norton and Matthew Magee.

Honorary bearers will be James Callis, John Kelly, Bill McDowell, Willis Charles, Dr. Kenneth Azan and Butch Gardner.

Interment will be in Pittsville Cemetery, Pittsville, MO, with full military honors by the U.S. Army and VFW Post 2591.

Memorial contributions are suggested to First United Methodist Church.

Arrangements are in the care of Heckart Funeral Home.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James B. Rice, Jr., please visit our flower store.


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