Philip Maurice Rice


Belfast NY:  Philip Maurice Rice, 81, passed away Friday (March 3, 2017) at Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, surrounded by many of his loved ones.

He was born July 23, 1935, in Fillmore, a son of the late Maurice and Eleanor Silliman Rice. On Aug. 29, 1980, in Belfast, he married Melva Rice, who survives. They were married for 36 amazing years.?

Phil graduated from Fillmore Central School in 1954 and then served in the U.S. Army from 1955 to 1959. Phil was a former truck driver for Boss-Linco, Olean, for 16 years. Phil extended his love of driving trucks by instructing Class A drivers at BOCES for 10 years. He went on to work for the Allegany County Department of Public Works for 18 years, where he retired as a road maintenance supervisor in 1998. After retirement, Phil enjoyed his part-time employment at Six-S Golf Course in Angelica until 2010. He loved the outdoors and groundskeeping while there.

Phil was a very active and outgoing man.

Phil was a lifelong member of the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York, where he was an essential component and an active, committed volunteer until recently. Phil originally joined the Belfast Fire Department in 1968, where he was the chief for five years and then treasurer from 1986 to 2015. He was a very proud president of the Allegany County Volunteer Fireman’s Association in 1983. He was also a fire commissioner for 22 years. ?Phil was also a lifelong member of American Legion Post 1504, Belfast.

Phil was an avid hunter and golfer. He enjoyed bingo and traveling. Phil found a great joy in driving. He loved to spend his time with his dog, Layla, his wife and his family. He was a much-loved brother, father, husband and grandfather.

Survivors include two brothers, Howard (Georgianna) Rice of Marion and Paul (Gidget) Rice of Newark; his wife, Melva Rice of Belfast; four daughters, Gina (Lamar) Dudley of Panama City, Fla., Cynthia (Fred) Cronin of Columbus, Ga., Laurie (Jamie) Willette of North Windham, Maine, and Candy (James) Oleary of East Bloomfield; a son, Philip James Rice of Celeron; three stepdaughters, Judy (Adrian) Guerrero of Reading, Pa., Jane (Patrick) Siddle of Madison, Ohio, and Phyllis (Christopher) Rutherford of Saint Augustine, Fla.; 11 grandchildren; 14 step-grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and eight step-great-grandchildren. He had a large group of family and friends who all loved and honored him very much.

At Phil’s request, there will be no visitation. A prayer service and celebration of life will be held at a later date at the convenience of family.

Memorials, if desired, may be made to the Belfast Area Betterment Association, P.O. Box 372, Belfast, NY 14711; or to Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Elm and Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY 14263.

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