Rice remembers as a passionate historian | News, Sports, Jobs
ELKINS – Praise and tributes are paid to Don Rice, a renowned Randolph County historian and author, who died on July 3 at the age of 92.
“A county, if he’s lucky, has this guy who knows the history of the county, and in Randolph County it was Don Rice” Phyllis Baxter, the secretary of the Randolph County Historical Society, told The Inter-Mountain.
“He knew history, he was passionate about history. He was a good researcher. He has documented and preserved this story and told these stories for all these years. “
Rice was president of the Randolph County Historical Society for nearly 40 years and has published several books on local history, including “Randolph 200: A Bicentennial History of Randolph County, West Virginia” and “Elkins Centennial Album”.
Rice has also written for The West Virginia Encyclopedia and Goldenseal Magazine, and has contributed articles and provided research assistance to The Inter-Mountain on several projects over the years.
In 2019, at a recognition ceremony for the founders of the Randolph County Museum, the following was read about Rice:
“Don was the leader of the effort to establish the Randolph County Museum in the 1970s. When he learned that the Blackman-Bosworth store was available for sale, he led the effort to collect fund and buy the building. Knowing that the Randolph County Historical Society, although a venerable institution never had a home of its own for programs or to house collections, he had the vision to see how important a museum could be to the Society and for the county.
“Once the building was secured, they spread the word and people brought things. Over the years, he has continued to search for artifacts and relevant documents that tell the story of our county.
“The gifts and loaned items that Don obtained formed the basis of the large and rich collection of the Randolph County Museum.”
Tributes to him have been pouring in on social media since Rice’s death.
Goldenseal, a historic magazine focused on West Virginia, posted the following on its Facebook page:
“Over the past weekend, we lost one of our best promoters in West Virginia history with the passing of Donald L. Rice on July 3. Mr. Rice (1929-2021) had a rare level of knowledge and enthusiasm for all things history. . As well as having written numerous books on Randolph County – and articles for Goldenseal – he helped spark a movement to preserve historic Beverly WV USA. He also loved to share his wealth of knowledge with younger generations and will continue to be an inspiration to history buffs across West Virginia, including the editor of our magazine.
Ken Sullivan, former editor of Goldenseal and then executive director of the West Virginia Humanities Council, posted: “Don Rice was our Randolph County History Specialist for Goldenseal Magazine and the West Virginia Humanities, and he wrote the Randolph County article for the West Virginia Encyclopedia. He was a champion and will be missed by historians across the state.
Rice is a graduate of Elkins High School and Davis & Elkins College, and has excelled in football at both schools.
“Don played on the 1948 D&E football team” Local lawyer George Triplett told The Inter-Mountain. “I really admired him. When he graduated from college, his first teaching job was at Durbin School in Pocahontas County, so he drove a long way from Elkins.
“I remember he had what I thought was a sharp car, and when I saw him come out of that automobile in a suit, ready to teach, I thought he was a real role model for me as a young man “, said Triplette. “He was a great person. We have lost a great man.
Rice also taught at Elkins High School and was principal of Harman School. He retired in 1987 as Assistant Superintendent of Randolph County Schools, after many years of service as an administrator in the county school system.
He also retired from the West Virginia Army National Guard, with over 20 years of service, including nine years of full-time active service. He also earned a master’s degree from West Virginia University.
Rice is survived by his wife of 68 years, Carolyn, and their three children, eight grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.