Cover photo for James Robert Rice Jr.'s Obituary
James Robert Rice Jr. Profile Photo
1933 James 2017

James Robert Rice Jr.

October 17, 1933 — July 29, 2017

James Robert “Bob” Rice, 83, was born on October 17, 1933 in Louisville, KY to James and Blanche (Beck) Rice. His parents divorced and his mother married James “Shanke” Woulfe, who raised him from a small child. He could not ask for better parents. They thought, that he could do no wrong. He had an ideal childhood, with Huckleberry Finn as his mentor.

He enlisted in the Air Force in 1951, serving until 1955, and was discharged at Forbes Air Force Base in Topeka. He felt very fortunate to have served in Germany. It was just after the war, and the people were very good to the American Troops.

He attended Sore Brothers in Kansas City for two years to become a machinist. He retired from Cargill in 1994, to design and build his own house. Bob also farmed in Silver Lake, Kansas.

Bob was a member of Mother Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Church and a former member of St. Joseph Catholic Church.

He never knew much about his father’s family and doing genealogy was very rewarding to him. He loved visiting with people and always had a joke to tell. He was a great handyman and enjoyed woodworking.

He is survived by his second wife, Judy, two daughters, Donna (Casey) Fernkopf, Donna M. Rice of Topeka, son, James (Amy) Rice III of Jewell, KS, three stepchildren, Kyle (Heather) Reed, Kelly Hubert and Shelly Thorpe, 15 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren, a brother Charles Rice of Texas, sister, Dora Jean Katz of Kentucky, and step mother, Juanita Elam of Indiana and of course his beloved dogs, Sam and Sissy. He was predeceased by a son, Donald Rice on February 19, 1992.

Bob will lie in state at the Brennan-Mathena Funeral Home on Tuesday from After 5:00 p.m. and a Parish Rosary will be prayed at 5:30 p.m. followed by the family receiving friends until 7:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 312 Freeman, Topeka. Military honors will be conducted by American Legion Post #421 and will follow the Mass at church. Cremation will follow. Inurnment will be in Rochester Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Midland Hospice Care and sent in care of Brennan-Mathena Funeral Home, 800 SW 6th Ave., Topeka, Kansas 66603.

Online condolences and fond memories may be left at

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)


800 SW 6th Ave, Topeka, KS 66603

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Mass of Christian Burial

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

Sacred Heart Catholic Church

312 NE Freeman Ave, Topeka, KS 66616

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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