Welcome to the memorial page for

Francis A. Rice

July 28, 1920 ~ September 12, 2017 (age 97)

Obituary Image

Francis A. Rice, 97, passed away on September 12, 2017.

Fran was born on July 28, 1920, son of Alfred and Lois (Davenport) Rice. He grew up in Heath and attended Arms Academy graduating in 1938. Fran served 6 years in the military as a Navy aviation ordinance man stationed in the Pacific theater during WWII.

In 1947, he married Evelyn Cobb and they moved to Heath in 1953. There, they raised four children while Fran worked in the auto body repair industry and tended to the family farm. Fran worked in auto body for 40 years in Shelburne Falls at Blassberg's Garage and later in Vermont. Fran was remarried in 1976 to Odette Canalis, and retired in 1982.

Fran enjoyed being outdoors and spent his free time working in the potato or hay fields, gardening or cutting firewood. He enjoyed snowmobiling, hunting, fishing, going out dancing and having fun playing cards or horseshoes. He loved cookouts and going out to eat, and attending the Heath Fair chicken BBQ's year after year. He had a special liking for apple pie and cream puffs.

Fran was predeceased by his first wife Evelyn and later by his second wife Odette. His three siblings James, Kenneth and Agnes also passed before him. 

Fran leaves his four children Raymond (Sharon) Rice of Buckland, Pamela (Joseph) Gilbert of Charlemont, Sandra (Kenneth) Gilbert of Heath, and Michele (Darryl) Cutter of Heath, and a step-son Craig (Terry) Canalis and his family in North Dakota. He also leaves nine grandchildren Vicki, Scott, Christine, Jennifer, Melissa, Elizabeth, Eileen, Gregory and Gordon as well as 14 great grandchildren.

Fran's family would like to thank Dr. Richard Warner for the care and compassion he provided and continuing to extend Fran's "warranty" over the years. Fran was also blessed to have many caregivers both at home and in the nursing facilities. A special heartfelt thank you for the care provided by his PCA Tara, whom Fran adored.

Per Fran's wishes, there are no funeral services.

There will be a gathering at the Heath Community Hall on Saturday, September 23 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm for friends, family and Heath community members to celebrate Fran's life.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Heath Fire Department by mail or at the gathering.

 Service Information

Gathering of Family and Friends
September 23, 2017

1:00 PM
Heath Community Hall
Main Rd
Heath, MA 01346

© 2018 Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS