John "Jack" was born June 19, 1937 to Malcolm and Helen Rice and moved with them to the beautiful piece of land they called home when he was thirteen years old. As a young man he distinguished himself as an athlete excelling in wrestling and track. One of the most formative decisions he made was to join the Marine Corp from 1958-1962. Although he only wore a uniform for four years, he was a proud Marine for the rest of his life.
In 1961, Jack married Carolyn Dean who would be his wife for fifty-nine years. He loved Carolyn with all of his heart and modeled what it means to be a husband through his provision, kindness, and friendship. Most of their time together was spent in the house they built on Fort Loudon Lake where they raised three children, Andy, Dean, and Rebekah. To his children he demonstrated again how a husband should treasure his wife and how a father should raise his children. These gifts will echo down through many generations beginning with his three children and seven grandchildren Matt, Alex, Anna Caroline, Nicholas, Sarah, Rachel, and Macy.
In the summer of 1969, Jack was attending a conference on how to share the gospel when he came to understand the difference between being a church member and being a Christian. For the next fifty one years Jack lived out the new life which was given to him through the redeeming blood of his Savior and Lord who now holds him in his arms. He was a Sunday School teacher, Deacon, and Elder at Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church for many years. Countless children doubtless came to know Jesus because of his faithful work with the Junior Church program.
We know that God created this beautiful world in only six days. We can only imagine the mansion He has built for Jack in fifty one years. One thing that it will probably have is a golden paddle ball court where he can play again with his buddies who have gone on before him. While living in Knoxville Jack won multiple national championships in paddle ball as well as regional squash championships. Whether on a court, a track, a mat, or an office, he was the ultimate competitor. In addition to winning at everything he attempted, he loved to teach others the skills he had mastered.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Jack took up wood carving later in life and uncovered a latent talent. Throughout his house, on every shelf, every table, and many walls visitors can enjoy carvings of boots, Indians, Trolls, whimsical houses, alphabets, a Red Cross nurse, and his grandson Alex.
When Jack traded in his worn out body for one that is eternally perfect, he left this world a richer place than the one he entered in 1937. He is proceeded by his parents, Malcolm and Helen, his sister Joan, and his son Mark. He was deeply loved and will be deeply missed by all who knew him until we are reunited with him one day in Heaven when our Lord calls us each home.
Interment and a celebration of life will be held at a future time.