Gene Rice of Waterloo Illinois died of COVID-19 on April 6, 2020 at the age of 83. He was Monroe County’s first known death from COVID-19.
Gene grew up in the Cahokia area, attended Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and married his best friend Nancy in 1957. They raised their kids while he worked at the Monsanto Krummrich Plant in Sauget, IL for 30 years before retiring.
He loved taking his family on trips to different lakes, camping, water skiing, playing music, ballroom dancing with his wife, and socializing with friends. Gene was also an ordained deacon at Westview Baptist Church in Belleville, and active in his church community. He loved his family – both immediate and extended, and he loved life. Gene is remembered for always having words of encouragement for anyone he was around.
As one of his friends posted on Facebook: “Another reminder that this is real and affects all of us in a crushing way. I encourage everyone who knew Gene to pay him tribute in death and wear a mask and save lives. “
Gene Rice is missed deeply by Nancy his wife of 63 years, his children and extended family, his family friends who were like family to him, his church family, and anyone who was lucky enough to know him in any way.