Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Grand Canyon

After the funeral in Phoenix on July 14, we headed up to Northern Arizona to the small town of Prescott Valley where Ross' parents and brother's family live.  His brother, Craig, was out of the country with his family for the funeral, so we were unable to visit with them, but we did have a nice stay at Ross' parent's home for a couple of nights.


On Monday,  July 16 it was time to head for home.  The boys had soccer tournaments to play in.  We decided to make a pit stop on our way to the Grand Canyon.  I had never officially visited, Ross hadn't been since he was small, and the boys are always pretty willing to check another National Park off of their list.

It was a peaceful and beautiful drive to the canyon - mostly because Quinn and Wyatt rode with Ross' parents.  Ha!  It was just a pretty quiet drive for me, Ross and Elliott.  As we were entering the park, we got hit by a torrential hail storm and I really thought all hopes of seeing the canyon were dashed.  But, the storm cleared up, we saw a few elk on the drive, and it turned into a cool-ish, humid-ish, sweaty-ish morning to view the Canyon.

There wasn't a lot to eat at the visitor center we were at, and Ross led the group on one extra long walk to an overlook that we didn't actually look at, but it was a great time.

On the shuttle bus riding from an overlook to the main visitor center, there was a Latino guy singing, "You got what I need" by Biz Marke.  It was fun to listen to.  As the song approached the chorus, and as we neared the area to unload the bus, a very large and in charge white guy (he may have been wearing a BYU hat?) shouted out, in tune, "Oh baby you!  You got what I need!".  I laughed so hard!  It was one of those moments where I was ready for the whole bus to burst into song, like in a movie.  Alas, no one sang.

After the Grand Canyon, we parted ways with the Howden's and headed to Kanab, Utah to spend the night and then drive home the next morning, arriving in time for soccer practice of course.





Friday, July 20, 2018

Ted's funeral in Pictures

It seems that with most times and places in my life, I'm the one with the camera.  I value so much the importance and significance of a picture and it's ability to stir memories of times, places, people and events that we love and hold dear.

These are a few of my favorite pictures from Ted's funeral.







Thursday, July 19, 2018

Grandpa Ted's Funeral

Due to scheduling conflicts among family members, Grandpa Ted's funeral was held on July 14, 2018.  I was able to make the program and take some pictures at the services and at the cemetery.  Ross gave a really wonderful tribute to his Grandfather as one of the speakers.

The following are his remarks from the service.

Good morning to all of you.  First, let me say that it is good to be with you to celebrate the life and legacy of Theodore Thomas Rice.  We are very fortunate to be here today to remember him and the influence that he has had on all of us.

I consider it a privilege to be able to offer a tribute to my Grandpa Ted.  I would like to share some personal stories and memories and talk about how important he is to me.  I would also like to honor some of his characteristics and attributes. I hope that my remarks can encapsulate the feelings of my cousins and their spouses and all of the great Grandchildren that have been lucky enough to know Grandpa Ted during this life.  I am sure that many of you will have similar memories to mine.

I am very fortunate, because I cannot remember a time where Grandpa Ted was not in my life.  For 40 years he was the ever present calm and steady hand and quiet example.

I would like to recount one of my earliest experiences with my Grandpa Ted.  This is one that I cannot remember, but the story has been told to me many times.  It was probably 1978 or 1979 and Grandpa Ted had just had surgery on a deviated septum.  He was holding me (as a one year old or maybe 18 month-old) on his lap. You may know where this story is headed – pardon the pun.  From what I have been told, I abruptly jumped up and head butted Grandpa in his nose. Now I do not know exactly how he reacted in that moment, perhaps Grandma or my parents can comment, but he did not hold that against me.  As someone who had the same surgery earlier this year, I cannot imagine how that must have felt.

My first memory of Grandpa Ted was when I was probably four years old.  I remember their grey two-door Oldsmobile or Buick car that was a diesel.  I remember seeing Jenny the dog as I think a puppy in the back seat when we lived on Lobo in Mesa.  It is interesting that my first memory of Grandpa Ted is connected to an animal. All animals loved Grandpa Ted.  He was every dog’s favorite person and it was not even a contest. I cannot tell you how many times my grandparents took care of our dogs and they did not want to come home afterwards because they loved being with Grandpa Ted so much (and that this drove my mom crazy).  It may have had something to do with him feeding them scraps from the table or extra treats, I do not know. I can also remember Junior the ferret living in the Arizona room of the house on Extension. I think that Craig and I spent hours chasing him around the yard and the raised strawberry patch behind the pool fence.  I bet that some of you kids do not even know what a ferret is, and to think that Great Grandpa had one as a pet!

Speaking of the house on Extension, many of my memories are linked to that house.  I remember barbecues, pot-lucks, birthday parties, Christmas breakfast, and swimming in the pool for hours.  It was a fancy pool because it had a hot tub that was attached and we would dive from the edge of the hot tub into the pool.  I also remember spending a lot of time on the patio / in the Arizona room. No matter the house, Grandpa Ted always had a patio / Arizona room.  The patio along with the garage (which I will talk about in a minute), seemed to be his domain. It was primarily a place for Grandpa to read. Calling Grandpa Ted a voracious reader may be an understatement.  I do not think that a day went by without him reading the entire newspaper. He was committed to learning and having informed opinions. I can remember reading consumer reports, popular mechanics, and popular technology.  Grandpa would always study things out and do his research before making a decision or purchase. He was wise and measured and I can remember him teaching me the circle rating system for consumer reports.

Grandpa Ted was also an early adopter of technology.  I can remember him having a personal computer when they first came out in the market.   I can remember playing ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ with Uncle Brian in the early 1980s.  For all of the kids in the audience, it may be hard for you to believe that this first video game was only words and you had to type and it wasn’t even in color!  In addition to computers, Grandpa Ted was an early adopter of technology in general. He liked music and always seemed to have new stereo equipment or speakers. I remember when he first got a CD player.  He was also very early to email and cell phones. His email address was TedEagle1 which was also his nickname as ‘RoadMaster’ for the RV club.

Speaking of the RV club, Grandpa Ted loved camping, travel, and adventure.  He has traveled all over the world and to many of the most beautiful parts of our country and to many exotic foreign desintations.  I can remember spending time with Grandma and Grandpa at Camp Lo Lo Mi in the summers to escape the heat of the valley. I think that their most ambitious camping trip was going from Arizona to Alaska and back in an era before Cell Phones and GPS.  I can remember Grandpa preparing his maps and itinerary for that trip carefully calculating fuel consumption and distance between gas stations (some on dirt roads in the Yukon).

Grandpa seemed to always have a travel trailer or fifth wheel.  He also had a variety of trucks and suburbans to tow said trailers.  I can remember that Grandpa Ted taught me about glow plugs – waiting for them to warm up before starting a diesel engine and then connecting up to the hitch before heading out.  Not only did he enjoy the outings and excursions, but he liked to tinker and work on projects. Grandpa Ted was always working on projects. House projects / Car projects / Camper projects.  I can remember him scouring catalogs and going to Camping World for supplies or the latest and greatest accessory. I think that my favorite project that he worked on was related to their conversion van when I was in elementary school.  Grandma, shockingly, would accuse Grandpa of driving too fast. In fairness, he probably was driving too fast. She would look over from the passenger seat and the angle (according to Grandpa) caused it to appear like he was going faster than the speed limit.  I learned later in high school that in the world of physics, this is called a parallax. In order to avoid the parallax, Grandpa bought and installed a digital speedometer that was mounted on Grandma’s side so she always knew exactly how fast he was driving.

Talking about all of these projects I think underscores how industrious Grandpa Ted was.  He was always up early and was always busy engaged in something. I remember Grandpa working for US West / Qwest and coming to our elementary school and middle school to work on the phone systems.  He never shied away from hard work or from the most difficult jobs. He always volunteered to help others. I have memories of him on ladders, in attics, carrying boxes, crawling under bushes, and every other difficult spot.  His arms and knees always seemed to be scraped up because of the work that he was doing. He is a great example of industry and of being a wise steward with money. Having your grandparents talk to you about 401ks as a young kid is pretty remarkable.
Grandpa Ted is a man of routine and structure.  This sense of order can be seen in his labeling of things.  He labeled everything with a sharpie in big block letters. If you think about the table next to his chair, things would always get put back into place.  You always knew what you would get from Grandpa Ted. He was amazingly consistent. I think that he wore the same watch everyday that I can remember.

Grandpa Ted had great strength of character and will.  I would like to share another story that I cannot personally remember, but that has been related to me many times.  Apparently when I was just 4 or 5 years old or somewhere in there, I asked Grandpa Ted to stop smoking because I was concerned about his health.  From what I understand, he put his mind to it and quit because it is what he decided to do.

I need to talk about another very important aspect of Grandpa Ted’s life.  Grandpa loved to play and watch sports. It started very early as a star two sport athlete in high school in Denver.  He played both baseball and basketball where he was a two time state champion. I remember him showing me a yearbook from what I think was high school with a black and white picture of the basketball team in their uniforms.   He had me try to pick him out. He was a tall skinny kid on the back row with a big smile. Grandpa experienced team success in basketball, but was a more gifted baseball player. As a catcher, which is the most cerebral position on the team, he had an offer to play semi-professionally after high school.  Dreams of pro baseball, however, where cut short by the Korean War. Grandpa Ted was drafted into the Navy and was trained as a medic. I think that he specialty in the Navy underscores his kind nature and desire to help take care of others. He had the experience of serving in Asia in both Japan and off the Korean Pennisula.  While there, I know that he had the opportunity to play on travel baseball teams competing against other units during his time in the service.

Grandpa Ted was very strong and physically imposing, but he was a gentle giant.  Annie talks about meeting him for the first time 16 years ago when Grandma and Grandpa came up on a camping trip to Utah and being amazed at how tall and big and strong he was for a “old guy”.  I remember Grandpa being an avid bowler and teaching us proper technique. He instructed Craig and I to pretend like we were picking up a pail of milk or picking up a bucket to get the proper form and follow through.  Grandpa Ted was a teacher. He spent hours on his hands and knees throwing whiffle balls to my boys working on their batting stance and form and showing them the finer points. Some of my best memories are watching him interact with his great grandchildren.

In addition to playing sports, Grandpa loved watching sports.  As a follower of all of the Arizona teams, there always seemed to be a game on tv or on the radio in the background.  Some of my best memories are attending baseball games and other sporting events with him and Grandma.

Speaking of baseball, Grandpa Ted taught me to bat clean-up when it came to family parties and events.  He taught me to wait for everyone else to go through the buffet line first, but then we had to make sure to not sit next to each other – we always needed to leave some elbow room at the table.

Grandpa Ted was thoughtful.  In 2002, I worked for the organizing committee for the Olympics and was helping to prepare a venue for hockey games.  I was working long hours as things were coming down to the wire. Grandpa (unsolicited) recorded the opening ceremonies for me (back in the days before Tivo).  He presented me with a VHS tape of the whole event complete with a label in his distinctive block writing.

When I think about the most significant moments of my life – graduation from high school, being dropped off at college, leaving on a mission, returning from Argentina, graduating from college, getting married, graduating from business school, the baby blessings for my three sons – my Grandpa Ted was always there and ready to give me a giant bear hug.

The book of Proverbs says that a good man leaves an inheritance to his childen’s children.  I do not think that this verse is referring to money. A good man creates a legacy by virtue of his deeds and how he treats the people around him.  His children, grand children, and great grand children witness this example and then, in turn, mirror it. Grandpa Ted has created a legacy of kindness and love and this was most prominent in his treatment of Grandma.  They are true sweethearts dedicated to each other.

My hope is that Grandpa Ted’s legacy will live on in our daily actions.  This legacy is so important to our family that our youngest son Quinn’s middle name is Theodore.  He was very lucky to have met his namesake during this life and to be able to carry the name of such an honorable man and I hope that he grows up to be like him.

I have spent a lot of time here sharing memories and thinking about the past.  This can cause all of us to be a little sad or have some feelings of regret. I feel those same things too, but the knowledge that I have that death is not the end is much stronger.  I know that we will have the opportunity to be re-united with Grandpa Ted after this life and that our separation is only temporary and that I will get another bear hug at the end of my life here.


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