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Elizabeth Ann Rice

Elizabeth Ann Rice

April 13, 2018

Elizabeth Ann (Betty) Rice, 91, of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin passed away on April 13, 2018, from congestive heart failure and recent strokes.   She was born in Chippewa Falls to Marie (Zimbehl) Germain and Andrew Germain.  She was the second youngest child out of seven children with three older brothers (Edward, Bruce and Kenneth), two older sisters (Bernice and Lenore) and one younger brother (Warren). 

Betty graduated from McDonell Catholic High School in June 1944.  She married her high school sweetheart Willis (Bill) Rice on June 20, 1946.  Bill passed away in June 2016 just a few weeks before their 70th wedding anniversary.  They had six children but endured the loss of their three sons.  Their oldest son, James was born with a developmental disability and died at the age of 32 while their two younger sons, Thomas and Richard, died shortly after birth.  Betty’s parents, older brothers and sisters passed away before her as well. 

Betty’s surviving daughters and son-in-laws are Judith Rice and Gary Kettle of Rice Lake, WI; Susan and Douglas Bowe of Chippewa Falls, WI; and Roxann Rice and Todd Wanous of Eau Claire, WI.  Surviving grandchildren include Erich and Janice Bowe of Chippewa Falls, WI; Jessica Bowe of Reykjavik, Iceland; Nolan Wanous of Alta, UT and Isaac Wanous of Eau Claire, WI.  She was blessed with two great-grandchildren Nicholas and Allyson Bowe.  Betty is also survived by her youngest brother Warren (Maggie) Germain of Solana Beach, CA as well as many nieces and nephews.

Betty’s most interesting job came early in her life when she moved to Washington D.C. after high school at age 17 to work as a clerk typist doing classified work for the War Department during World War II.  Having three brothers serving in the war, she was able to follow where they were stationed even though she wasn’t allowed to share that information with her family including her parents. 

An avid reader all of her life, Betty also enjoyed her job as a librarian at the Chippewa Falls Public Library during the 1970’s.  The majority of her time though was spent as a homemaker taking care of her children and grandchildren.  She was a talented seamstress and excellent baker known for her delicious homemade pies.  Betty was always willing to help anyone who needed help and was very generous with her time and talents.  She had a mischievous streak and wasn’t afraid to try new things.

Betty had many unique hobbies over the years.  She was an avid rock hound who took geology classes at UWEC in the evening.  She and Bill traveled the United States (including Alaska) and Canada in search of gems and minerals.  She learned how to cut and shape the stones with special equipment to make jewelry—even learning silversmithing techniques to make the metal settings.   Betty was a bird-lover who always had a pet canary and even raised canaries for many years.  She loved to fish with Bill and many times caught the largest fish.  Betty learned to love cross-country skiing in her fifties.  She also liked to push back against stereotypes.  One way she did that was by joining Bill in his hobby of archery.  Even though she didn’t start this hobby until mid-life, she became an accomplished archer and harvested five deer while bow hunting.    

Betty was always ready for a new adventure or trip.  Her grandest adventure was a two-week tour of Australia and New Zealand that she and Bill took in their late 60’s. She really enjoyed snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef.  Betty didn’t have a charmed life but she lived a good life.  She had lots of adventures with the love of her life, Bill.    

Betty was blessed by having great friends, neighbors and caregivers in the last stage of her life.  We would especially like to thank the caring staff of Wissota Place Assisted Living and St. Joseph’s hospice.  Betty’s family will be celebrating her life in a private ceremony and internment in the spring.

Chippewa Valley Cremation Services in Altoona is serving the family. 


Private services will be held later this spring.

Florist Information



  • Judith Shields Dear Judy,Susan,and Roxann,
    I recently was informed of your mother Betty passing from Carol Cruse Bentley my first cousin. The last time I saw you all was at our dear Aunt Lollie's funeral. I'm one of the five Schmitz children. I have good memories of both your dad Bill and your Mom going back many years, all the way to picnics in the park with the little zoo. My deepest sympathy for your loss. Your mom had lots of energy and a great laugh! Your dad was so thoughtful for many years making a Xmas call to say "hi" and to keep in touch.May your good memories give you some comfort.

    When you have a few minutes would love to hear from you and try to keep in touch.

    With deepest sympathy, Judi Schmitz Shields

    July 24 at 10:56pm

  • Claudia Adams I am so sorry for your lose, Bill is a double cousin to me and I have meet your Mother
    and Father when I was in Chippewa Falls a few years ago

    June 29 at 9:55pm

  • Pat & John Milanowski Our sympathy to the Rice Family. We have you in our thoughts and prayers.

    April 23 at 9:41pm

  • Pam & Ron Pfankuch Sue & family, so sorry to hear the loss of your mom. It's hard loosing our mom's but have been blessed with many wonderful years with them. We also know with faith in Jesus, we will see them again with no more pain or suffering in heaven. Prayers & hugs!

    April 21 at 7:18PM

  • Maggie and Warrren We are thinking of all of you. It's sad when you lose your parents but they both had a long happy life.
    I e-mailed my kids of her obituary which was so wonderfully done.
    God Bless all of you.
    Roxann, could you please send me your phone # and e-mail address.
    Thanks, Maggie

    April 19 at 3:40PM

  • Diana Germain Your mother was so much fun. I loved her sense of humor and wit. She was so easy to be with. I know you have lots of good memories. She will be missed.

    Diana Germain

    April 18 at 5:16PM

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