Meet Roger Rice

November 18, 2016 Resident Spotlight

Roger Rice was born June 7, 1925 in Detroit, Michigan. Roger was the only son with five loving sisters. He attended St. Vincent’s in the first grade and when the family moved, he attended and graduated from St. Leo’s on Grand River in Detroit.

Both Roger’s parents were from Lebanon and were very devout Catholics of the Maronite Rite, which was one of the first of the Eastern Catholic Rites. As such, Roger had a life grounded in deep faith and ministry. He still remembers the names of the sisters and priests who taught him at St. Leo. In fact, he still keeps in touch with his 5th grade teacher, Sister Annina Morgan, who is now 100 years old.

“She was nineteen and I was ten,” said Roger. “She was absolutely gorgeous. I told her I was going to marry her when I grew up. She told me, ‘Sisters don’t marry, but I love you.’”

There were thirty sisters, a monsignor, and five priests at St Leo’s in the years Roger attended, all of whom had a profound impact on his life.

After graduating in 1943, Roger began his first venture of many. He enlisted in the Navy, V5 Aviation Program in hopes of eventually becoming a pilot in the U.S. Navy. Roger’s first assignment was four semesters at Western Michigan University in preparation for Midshipman school at Columbia University upon completion of which he was assigned to active duty.

But that was just the beginning for Roger. Over the course of his life, Roger worked and assisted in managing the six grocery stores his father had in Detroit, Michigan. He followed the grocery store business after his father entered eternal life, as a Health inspector in Detroit, Michigan.

Roger’s background with the Navy was engineering, as such, he had the opportunity to change his career and became employed by Micromatic Hone Corporation, a company involved in manufacturing Micromatic for thirteen years.

He also worked a short time with a company that represented Nagel, a major German honing machine company. That ultimately led him to forming his own company, Michigan Hone and Drill in partnership with his brother in law, Don Mason, who was grinding and polishing sheet steel for the nuclear fuel power facilities. Roger was President to Michigan Hone and Drill, and Vice President of his Don’s company, Abrasives and Machining. Both of these companies remained listed among the important machine companies for over twenty years.

Roger was married to the love of his life, Betty Mason Mansour on June 15 1952. They were blessed with five sons and one daughter, the opposite of Roger’s parents who had five daughters and Roger.

Roger and Betty shared many interests, including a love of ministry and music, a talent also acquired by their children. Both he and Betty were parishioners in the parishes of St. Benedict, St. Anselms and St. Owen. During forty years of their fifty-four years of marriage, they were involved in religious education and Eucharistic Ministry. They also served as ushers and lectors, and participated in choir.

Roger also attended Sacred Heart Major Seminary and became a Pastoral Minister in 1990. He served at St. Ownen in that capacity until 2007 when Betty entered eternal life.

“We loved helping people,” said Roger. “It brought us close to family life, friends and most importantly our faith.”

He and Betty also served seventeen years in pastoral care at Beaumont Hospital. Roger also served twenty years in customer relations there.

“We enjoyed the company of those in need,” said Roger.

In 1978, the family moved to Bloomfield, Michigan. They purchased a lot on Forstway and Big Beaver Road, taking on one of their most exciting adventures: building their family home.

“Our sons, for the most part, had engineering backgrounds,” said Roger.

It was not easy but building their home turned out to be one of the most incredible and joyful accomplishments that any family could experience.

Betty was very inspirational through the entire build, though Roger still remembers her initial reaction.

“She told me, ‘You’ve been building machines throughout your career. What do you know about building a home?’” Explained Roger.

Roger enjoyed being active throughout his life and still does. He always has a project in hand. Anything where he can communicate, organize, supervise, entertain, pray, laugh, dance, sing or joke he wants to be a part of.

“I’ve got a joke or song for anything,” said Roger.

At Fox Manor, Roger attends as many activities as possible and will tell you that Fox Manor offers so many options: chimes, choir, movies, shopping, exercise routines and many other programs.

“I sent an email to Robin Mcclintock (Director of Fox Manor) about the amazing exercise program here. Tammy (Fox’s Activities Director) puts us through sixty-five different motions in our exercise program and unbelievably she has at least that many other activities for us to do throughout the year,” said Roger.

Roger’s daughter was the one most responsible for his becoming a resident of Lourdes Senior Community. She researched and found relatives that had lived at Lourdes before and they raved about it.

“I love it here,” said Roger. “I love the way it is managed. I love the staff. It doesn’t feel like they work here. They love their work and act more like volunteers than employees. Fox Manor of Lourdes Senior Community is a special gift to the lives of seniors. Lourdes is living, life and love.”

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