Donald Ray Rice
Donald Ray Rice of Hoover passed away after an extended cancer related illness. He was a graduate of Dothan High School and attended Marion Military Institute and North Texas State University prior to receiving both his Bachelor of Science Degree in Aviation Science (1973) and his Master’s Degree in Business Administration (1974) from Auburn University.
Upon graduation he was employed by South Central Bell and Bellsouth Services (1974) as a programmer and advanced through the positions of Staff Analyst and Senior Analyst prior to being promoted and reassigned as Staff Manager in the Internal Auditing Division of Bellsouth Corporation. Don’s managerial abilities continued to be recognized when he became Manager of Information Systems Operations and later continued his advancement with BellSouth Technologies as Manager of the Birmingham Real Time Operations Center. After retiring from BellSouth he joined Electronic Data Systems in December of 1997 as the Manager /Director of the Technical Service Center Help Desk and prior to his retirement in December 2007 he was promoted to Director of this Technical Service Center. Additionally, Don was a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and Board Member of the Alabama Electronic Data Processing Auditing Association (EDPAA). For over thirty nine (39) years, Don proudly served his State and Nation as a member of the United States Armed Forces. He began his career in 1967 by enlisting In the U.S. Air Force and upon completion of basic and advanced communication training served overseas tours in the Philippines and Korea. Upon his honorable discharge from active duty as a sergeant he entered the Alabama Air National Guard in 1972 and transferred to the 167th Material Management Center (MMC) Alabama Army National Guard in 1978. In 1980, he received a direct commission as a Warrant Officer and over the ensuing years participated in several overseas training exercises in the Federal Republic of Germany (Reforger and Wintex), and Central America (Blazing Trails and Fuetous Caminous).
His unit was deployed to Germany in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003) and was deployed to Iraqi in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (2004). Upon his redeployment and with over 39 years of honorable service CW-5 Rice retired.
Some of his military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and Meritorious Service Medal.
At American Legion Post 134 he was a Trustee and he was also a Mason at Lodge 829. He enjoyed travel, hiking, playing the piano, and Auburn football. He was predeceased by his parents, Donald Ray Rice and Gladys Bruno; his son, Donnie Rice; his grandparents, Earl and Pearl Garrison; uncle, Ray Henderson and his uncle and aunt, Fred and Joy Henderson. He is survived by his wife, Denese “De” Rice; his daughter, Deanna Rice; grandchild, Christopher Laganke; aunt, Jeannine Henderson and first cousins, Deborah Draughon and Gloria Draughon Barnes (Gene), Nancy Hawkins, and Johnny Henderson. True to form his last words were something we all wish for, “I am officially on vacation.”
Funeral arrangements are being coordinated with The Alabama National Cemetery and will be announced upon finalization. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to www.Cotsforvets.org.