After a life well lived over a period of 92 years, Mary Eudora Wood Rice passed away April 12, 2021 at Golden View Health Care following a long period of slowly declining health. Until the onset of the pandemic, she was still able to enjoy local visits and car trips, lakeside picnics, and travels on the back roads of the Lakes Region.
Mary was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on January 26, 1929, where her New England father, Leslie Earl Wood, met her southern school teacher mother, Julia Etta Hicks. The family moved to Barrington, NH, when Mary was a small child, and she very much enjoyed her childhood in what was then a small, rural New Hampshire town. She attended Waldron Hill School, a one-room schoolhouse, before the “central” school was built in Barrington in1938, and graduated from Dover High School in 1947.
She moved to the Lakes Region and married Lyman Rice in 1955, and their only child, daughter Jane, was born the following year. She enjoyed the outdoors, including skiing as a child on local rope tows and later at Gunstock, attending Camp Foss in Barnstead, and climbing many of New Hampshire’s mountains, including several 4000 footers and a traverse of the Presidentials with a local hiking group, including two nights in the AMC huts. She enjoyed swimming, boating, paddling and sailing on Winnipesaukee and Squam, and also a special trip on the schooner “Mistral” on the Intracoastal Waterway. Lyman Rice was a private pilot and she enjoying flying with him from the backyard grass airstrip on Parade Road.
She became a resident of Moultonborough in the late 1970s and enjoyed her homes on Ferry Shores and since 1985 on Ossipee Mountain Road. Crafts were a favorite activity from early childhood, when she learned to knit at age five. Tole painting, needlepoint, crewel embroidery, quilting, and most recently spinning her own yarn to knit, were all favorite hobbies, and she worked at the Christmas Dove shop in Boston and Alexandria, Virginia, and at the League of NH Craftsmen shop in Meredith for several years. Many sweaters, hats, mittens, quilts, and painted and embroidered objects testify to her skills. Along with others in Betsy Leiper’s embroidery group, she visited the stately homes and museums of England to view the embroideries, and worked on reproduction Colonial embroidered bed hangings that are now on display at Historic Deerfield, Massachusetts. She loved gardening and had flower and vegetable gardens wherever she lived. She loved to read, and was a volunteer on the Moultonborough Library book sale for many years. The Mary Rice Award for exceptional volunteer service to the library is named after her as the first recipient.
She was predeceased by her parents and an older brother, Leslie Earl Wood Jr., a World War II aerial gunner on B-24s in Italy, who died in 1982.
She is survived by her daughter Jane; and nieces, Priscilla and Katherine; and nephew, Dennis Rice; as well as many dear friends.
There will be a celebration of Mary's life at the convenience of the family, after the end of the pandemic. In lieu of an immediate gathering, the family would be happy to have you share your remembrance of Mary.
Donations in honor of Mary’s life may be sent to the Loon Center, PO Box 609, Moultonborough, NH 03254, or to the charity of one’s choice.