Merlin Rice, 67

Merlin Ray Rice, 67, of rural Albion passed away peacefully at his home at 10:40 a.m. Sunday, May 11, 2014.He was born July 14, 1946, a son of Merlin A. and Mary A. (Baker) Rice. He completed his grade school education in Columbia City and graduated from Columbia City Joint High School in 1964. On Aug. 4, 1966, he entered the U.S. Army. He received an honorable discharge July 14, 1968.He returned to the area where he became a career long journeyman pipefitter working out of Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 166, Fort Wayne. On Sept. 3, 1966, he was united in marriage to Alice R. Boyles-Greenwell. They made home in Columbia City. Since 1977, they have lived in Noble Township, Noble County.He was a member of Wolf Lake United Methodist Church, American Legion Post 98, North American Hunting Club and a life member of the National Rifle Association. An avid golfer, he participated in several golf leagues at Crooked Lake Golf course. He enjoyed fishing, hunting and spending time with his grandchildren.He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Alice; his children, Toby (Debra) Rice of Albion, Tana Vandeputte of Columbia City and Trevor (Lori) Rice of Kimmell; 10 grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren; two sisters, Trois (Dennis) Ray of Columbia City, Patricia Felver of South Whitley and a brother, Jim (Cheryl) Rice of Columbia City.The funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Smith and Sons Funeral Home, Columbia City with the Pastor Matthew Bock officiating. The burial will be in the Thorn Cemetery with the Whitley County Korean War Veterans presenting military honors. The visitation will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home.For those who wish memorials may be made to the Wolf Lake United Methodist Church.Condolences may be sent to