Helen Dorene Custis Rice, also known as “Toni”, age 84, of Sheridan, WY died Wednesday, March 23, 2011, in Sheridan Memorial Hospital. She would have preferred to die scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef!
She was born to John Norman Custis and Helen Schneider Custis on November 10, 1926, in Big Horn, WY. She attended school in Big Horn, graduating in 1944. That fall she joined the US Cadet Nursing program in Sheridan.
On July 19, 1947, she was joined in marriage to Thomas P. Rice of Birney, Montana, at the home of her parents in Big Horn.
She worked at Steven’s Fryberger and Sears Catalog store when it opened in Sheridan. She retired from the Telephone Company after 16 years.
She enjoyed being a part of the Civic Theatre Guild plays and won awards for her acting.
She took great pride in her flower and vegetable gardens. She canned many quarts of vegetables and fruit to be enjoyed with her family during the winter. One of our favorite memories is waiting until the first Sunday it snowed to have her canned cherries with cocoa, toast and hard-boiled eggs in the front of the fireplace for dinner. As a family they fished, hunted and loved the mountains.
Her husband, Thomas P. Rice and her sister, Jeanine Custis Shell preceded her in death.
Survivors include her brother Dr. Ron Custis of Dubois, WY; five children Connie (Phil) Small of Chehalis, WA, Tom (Deb) Rice of Sheridan, Ron Rice of Sheridan, Kathie (Gene) Schonenbach of Parkman, WY and Mike Rice of Sheridan. She had six grandchildren: Dennis Small, Jennifer (Tom) Fisher, Ralph (Sabine) Schonenbach, Chris Schonenbach and Jim Wall, Dax (Korinne) Rice, Sage (Jeremy) Kehrer. Also surviving are 10 great grandchildren.
Cremation has taken place and a private memorial service will be later in the summer.
Arrangements are with Champion Ferries Funeral Home.
Memorials may benefit the Sheridan Senior Citizen’s Center.