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March 29, 2017. BLOWING ROCK, NC — James “Jim” Oscar Rice Jr. age 79 of Conover, passed away on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at Watauga Medical Center in Boone.  Born June 9, 1937, in Catawba County, he was the son of the late James Oscar Rice, Sr. and Nell Flack Rice.

Jim was an active member of Concordia Lutheran Church in Conover, NC, and was an associate member of Grace Lutheran Church in Boone, NC.  Over the years, Jim was very involved within the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, both locally and across the United States.  He was active in various civic, educational, and community organizations throughout his career, including Lenoir Rhyne University, Newton-Conover Rotary Club and the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation, which Jim helped form in the 1970’s.  Jim was most proud of being the founder and CEO of VisionAire Jets and seeing his dream realized.

In addition to his parents, Jim was preceded in death by his first wife, Glenda Lorraine Butler Rice.

Survivors include his wife, Elaine Roseman Rice of Blowing Rock, NC; sons, Andy Rice and wife Taffy of Granite Falls, NC, Jeff Rice and wife Denise of St. Louis, MO, Brad Rice and wife Liz of Oklahoma City, OK, Steve Fennell of Newton, NC, and Stuart Fennell and wife Laura of Greensboro, NC; sisters, Dr. Pat R. Whitley of Salisbury, NC, and Peggy R. Sherrill of Asheboro, NC; grandchildren, Drew Rice, Kat R. McGee and husband Zach, Will Rice, Sarah R. Shadday and husband Matthew, Jackson Rice, Benjamin Rice, Tscharner Fennell, Mason Fennell, Justin Fennell, and Alyssa Fennell.

A Service of Remembrance will be held at 1:00 PM on Friday, March 31, 2017, at Concordia Lutheran Church in Conover, NC.  Reverend A. Mark Schudde will officiate, and the burial will follow in Conover City Cemetery.  The family will receive friends at the church prior to the service from 11:00 AM until 12:45 PM on Friday.

Jim’s grandsons will serve as pallbearers.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be given to Concordia Lutheran Church, 216 5th Ave. SE, Conover, NC, 28613, or to Grace Lutheran Church, 115 E. King St., Boone, NC, 28607.

Condolences may be sent to the Rice family at

The Rice family has entrusted funeral arrangements to Drum Funeral Home & Cremations in Conover.

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