Howie Rice, 77
Howard G. Rice, more commonly known as Howie or “the mayor of Block Island,” passed away on March 13, 2019 at the age of 77. A native of Block Island, Howie graduated from technical school in 1958 and joined the U.S. Marine Corps the following year. He retired from the USMC in 1969 as a sergeant and returned to Block Island, first working for his father and then taking over the family business, Rice Construction.
For many Block Islanders, Howie will most likely be forever remembered as the most wonderful School Bus Driver in America. He filled this position for 40 years and the children of Block Island were truly his passion and joy. His attention and care to this job, that was more of a life passion than a job, was unparalleled. It is a great example of how smaller daily interactions can add up to create a tremendously positive impact in so many lives over so many years. Howie taught us all to smile and laugh through any troubled times and enjoy the happy moments each day.
In addition to the students of Block Island, Howie’s passions included a love of sailing and traveling (particularly to Costa Rica), being an ambassador of Block Island with his Island Tours and, of course, his friends at the renowned Breakfast Club — where many of the local, national, and world issues of the day were discussed with vigor and sometimes a few extra “facts.” While Howie made friends easily and frequently, it was here at the Breakfast Club where he found his true band of brothers.
He is survived by his loving wife, Sandie Rice, and pre-deceased by his parents, Robert and Polly Rice, all of Block Island.
A celebration of Howie’s life will be held at The 1661 Inn on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019 from 1 to 3 p.m. Memorial donations in memory of Howie can be made to Block Island Volunteer Rescue Squad, Box 214, Block Island, RI 02807.