His family, his church, the law, and good food shared among friends, formed the center of Wayne Rice’s world. He died on April 26th, 2023, from complications related to bladder cancer.
Wayne Rice was born on March 6th, 1951, to Michel and Ruth Rice, two Army service members who met and married while stationed in the Philippines during World War II.
He developed a love of English history at the College of Wooster, graduating in 1973. Wayne finished his degree requirements early and started work as a bank teller at the former First National Bank in Akron. Afterwards, he attended law school at the University of Akron, graduating and gaining admittance to the Bar in 1976.
He met his wife, Janet, at the Church of Our Saviour, Akron, and the two married in 1978.
He began his legal career as a law firm associate but returned to banking as regional counsel for TransOhio Savings Bank and then General Counsel for Falls Savings Bank. After Fifth Third Bank acquired Falls Savings, Wayne and a group of partners founded Cuyahoga Falls Savings Bank. Wayne then went into private practice until securing a full-time position as Bar Counsel for the Akron Bar Association.
Wayne’s life taught us the following:
In all areas, serve with faithfulness and strive for dignity and justice—at the Akron Bar Association, Wayne’s work focused on upholding the Code of Professional Conduct for attorneys. In addition, he organized and conducted Character and Fitness interviews for applicants to the Ohio Bar. He led the Church of Our Saviour and St. Paul’s Episcopal through interim minister periods, served as Senior Warden at both churches, led stewardship efforts, served as a chalice bearer, and served on the OPEN M Board as President. He also served in leadership roles on the boards of Sumner on Merriman, Sumner on Ridgewood, and the Sumner Endowment.
Take your job seriously but make time for your family—The happiest family vacations were trips to England, the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee along with Bryce and Zion National Parks in Utah. He never missed a soccer game, band concert, or violin recital. He loved weddings and was grateful to see three beautiful ones this past year.
Stay close to the ones you love—Wayne and Jan were married for 45 years, raising a son and daughter, Eddie and Laura, along with four dogs, while tolerating a menagerie of animals: hamsters, hermit crabs, lizards, and snakes. Together, they enjoyed outings at Blossom to hear the Cleveland Orchestra, sharing wine and snacks from West Point Market; Wayne loved to grill and would often host dinners on the patio with friends.
Cut with the sharpest knife and serve the beef medium-rare—Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, were Wayne’s favorite holidays. He would plan out the menus months in advance. Please raise a glass to Wayne Rice—his favorite drink at the end of a long day was a gin and tonic with a twist of a lemon, not a lime.
Wayne is survived by his wife Janet and two children, Eddie and Laura, and by his brothers, the Reverend Dr. David Rice, John Rice (Bonnie), his sister Janet Miller (Tom, deceased); preceded in death by his sister Elaine Kay. Survived by his nieces Melanie and Chris Miller (Katelyn), Sarah Lahoski (John), and preceded in death by his niece Katherine Marie.
The family would like to thank Dr. Jayram Krishnan, the nurses on 5100 at Akron General, and Cleveland Clinic Home Healthcare, and Wound Ostomy nurses. Their care and kindness provided much comfort to Wayne throughout his illness.
A memorial service will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 1361 W. Market St., Akron, OH 44313, on May 20th at 11:30, with calling hours at 10:30 at the church.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Akron Bar Foundation Scholarship Fund IMO Wayne M. Rice (www.akronbar.org), OPEN M (www.openm.org), the St. Paul’s Endowment Fund (www.stpaulsakron.org), or Justin T. Rogers Hospice Center (my.clevelandclinic.org).
From the Book of Common Prayer, 1928, “For Those We Love. ALMIGHTY God, we entrust all who are dear to us to thy never-failing care and love, for this life and the life to come; knowing that thou art doing for them better things than we can desire or pray for; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Services in care of The Billow Funeral Homes & Crematory, Fairlawn Chapel, 85 N. Miller Road Akron, OH 44333.
To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.