Canton – Robert Joshua Rice, 89, passed away peacefully on Sunday, January 30, 2022 at the Community Living Center in the Charles H. George VA Medical Center.
Josh was born on March 2, 1932, to William Crawford and Beulah Kate Smathers Rice. Josh was born and raised in the Rice Cove section in the Beaverdam Community of Haywood County, where he dearly loved. He was also preceded in death by three brothers, Roger David, William Howard, and Jack Jessie Rice; and a sister, Mary Grey Rice.
He was a member of the United States Air Force serving during the Korean War. He was proud to have been on the last RB-52 photo recon mission of the Korean War a few hours before cease fire, also known at the Last Big One. He was listed as the left gunner A/2C.
After Josh’s military service, he returned to Haywood County and went to work for Champion International. He married Alline Ledford Glance on November 2, 1968. She died on April 8, 2015. They were married for 46 years. They lived in the Crabtree area. He was a Christian of the Baptist faith. He retired from Champion International/Blue Ridge Paper with 46+ years of service.
Josh was a descendant of some of the founding families of Haywood County, the Allison’s, Rice’s, Moody’s, and Smathers’. He was very proud of his heritage and continued to go to the Allison Reunion on Jonathan Creek until a few years ago. He was also an avid reader and loved to read Haywood County history books and military books.
He is survived by his stepchildren, Dale Glance (Debbie) of Clyde, Linda Duckett (Mike) of Waynesville, and Debbie Messer (Jerry) of Ironduff. He is also survived by his seven grandchildren, Robbie Glance of Idaho, John Glance of Candler, Sarah Glance Smith of Clyde, Allison Duckett of Haikou Shi, Hainan, China, Lloyd Messer of Clyde, Scottie Messer of Ironduff, and Veronica Messer of Canton; and 16 great-grandchildren, Joshua, Addison, Klohe, Luke, Lillie Kate, Harper, Tanner, Scott, Marshall, Lanie, Samuel, Zachary, Avery, Alex, Ariel, and David. He is also survived by three nieces, Kim Rice Adams of LaGrange, Georgia, Suzanne Rice Oakley of Tampa, Florida, and Robin Rice Gillis of Greenville, South Carolina.
The family wishes to thank his special caregiver, Regina Best Carver.
At Josh’s request, no services will be held.
The care of Mr. Rice has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Homes of Canton and an online memorial register is available at “Obituaries” at www.wellsfuneralhome.com