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Della E. Rice



Last updated 7/22/2015 at 11:19am

Della E. Rice passed away on July 16, 2015 at the age of 92, of natural causes in Clarkston, Washington.

She was born Aug. 27, 1922, in Sandpoint, Idaho, to Leonard and Goulda Bower.  In the mid-1920's, the family moved to the remote mining community of Lakeview, Idaho, on the south shore of Lake Pend Oreille, where her father worked in the silver mines until 1930.  At that time, they moved to a farm near Addy, Washington, and again in 1936 to Endicott, Washington, where she graduated from high school in 1939.  Della moved to Spokane, Washington after graduation, and obtained a certificate from the Kelsey-Baird school of business.  She worked for an insurance company in Spokane until the Spring of 1942, when she accepted a job with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Coulee Dam, Washington.  On Sunday, March 8, 1942, she arrived in Coulee Dam on the bus from Spokane, 19 years old, and knowing not a soul there.  One of the first people she met was Jo Brim (Ayers).

Coulee Dam became her home for the next 42 years, where she met her husband, Wesslie S. Rice, of Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, and raised her family.  After her marriage, she worked in the office of the Community Hospital, and later as city clerk of the town of Coulee Dam.  She contracted polio in 1951, and spent a month in the hospital.  Afterwards, she walked with a limp, but got around quite well.

She was proud of the fact that with her own earnings, she was able to purchase a house on Stevens Street, across from her own, for her mother.

 After retirement, she moved with her husband and mother to Spokane in 1984.  Wes passed away in 1991, and in 1998, she moved to Clarkston, to be nearer to family.  Her mother, Goulda, passed away in 1999, and Della lived in Clarkston until her death.

 She is survived by her sons, John of Clarkston, Washington and Doug of Tucson, Arizona, three grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren.  No services are planned.


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