Bernard L. Rice
Aug. 28, 1922 - Feb. 28, 2014
OSCEOLA —Bernard L. Rice Sr., 91, of Osceola, passed from his earthly home at Center for Hospice in Elkhart on Friday, Feb. 28.
Bernard was born to Claude Rice and Rachel (Brownell) Rice in Elkhart on Aug. 28, 1922.
His parents preceded him in death, as well as his wife of 62 years, Norma (Annie) Emmert Rice; and two brothers, Clarkson Rice and David Rice.
He is survived by two sisters, JoAnne Studebaker and Julia Bliss. He is also survived by his three sons and three daughters, B. Loren (Ginny) Rice of Monroe, Ga., Susan Jane (Edward) Rhodes of Tucson, Ariz., Karen Ann (Paul) Juday of Osceola, Jennifer Lynn (Lane) Laffoon of Elkhart, Edward Claude (Dawn) Rice of Indianapolis and Robert Alan (Jennifer) Rice of South Bend; grandchildren Lt. Col. Michael (Gabriele) Tsung of the U.S. Marines in Germany, Malcolm (Jennifer) Tsung of Londondeery, N.H., Tamra Arthur of Littleton, Colo. Rebecca Wyatt of Tucson, Chief Petty Officer Benjamin Juday, serving on submarine USS Pennsylvania SSBN of Silverdale, Wash., Troy (Angela) Rice of New Carlisle, Molly and Jacob Rice of Indianapolis, and Kyle and Claire Rice of South Bend; nine great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren; plus a host of wonderful extended family members.
Bernie was a tour guide and docent at Northern Indiana Center for History and Oliver Mansion Copshaholm. He gave presentations to numerous classrooms regarding his experiences with the 12th Armored Division, 82nd Medics in WWII.
Bernie was a charter member of Penn South Fire Department as well as charter member of Chapter 132 of the Experimental Aircraft Association.
He served as a combat medic with Company C, 82nd Armored Medical Battalion of the 12th Armored Division in the European Theater of Operations from Dec. 7, 1944, to the end of the war in May 1945.
His division was assigned to Patch’s 7th Army, Patton’s 3rd Army and the French First Army. Along the way he was awarded the Bronze Star and his unit was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for their service during the Battle of the Bulge.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at Tri State University in 1950.
While working at Bendix Aerospace in Mishawaka in 1952, he founded the materials and techniques laboratory and managed it for 10 years.
He then spent nine years as a trouble-shooter on materials and processing problems for the Talos and Typhon missiles. He was assigned temporarily to the Mars Lander project in 1969. He was involved in project Apollo’s Bendix Lunar Rover and several smaller projects.
He talked with and shook the hands of astronauts who orbited or walked on the moon, including Pete Conrad, Frank Borman, Jim McDivitt, Scott Irwin, Harrison Schmidt and Gene Cernan; and several Russian cosmonauts who spent long periods aboard the Space Station Mir.
When the space programs wound down in 1970, he spent time with U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory at Dahlgren, Va., and 13 years with Dwyer Instruments, introducing new techniques for processing new materials. He retired as Dwyer’s corporate quality control manager.
Following retirement, he spent seven years designing and coordinating the building of a full-sized model airplane called the ARUP that hangs today in the atrium of the South Bend Regional Airport.
The family wishes to extend their appreciation to Bernie’s caregiver, Teresa Moran, and the wonderful nurses and staff of Center for Hospice and Palliative Care of Elkhart. Memorial donations are requested to be made to Center for Hospice and Palliative Care of Elkhart.
Visitation for family and friends will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, at Zimmerman-Inman Funeral Home, 1109 Lincolnway W., Osceola. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 6, at the funeral home. His nephew, the Rev. James Platner, will preside. Burial will follow in Chapel Hill Memorial Gardens. The Osceola American Legion and U.S. Army Honor Guard will render military honors.
To send an online condolence, please visit www.zimmermaninman.com.