Richard “Houser” Rice, III passed away on October 16, 2021, at the age of 48. He was born on December 27, 1972, to Richard H. Rice, Jr. and Malissa Hayes Rice. He was a devoted son, father, brother and friend.
Houser’s family moved to Franklin, TN when he was 5 years old. He attended Grassland Elementary, Northside Middle and Grassland Middle. He graduated from Franklin High School in 1991 where he excelled in football and was the 171lb. State Champion Wrestler in 1991. FHS football coach, the late Danny Nowell was quoted in The Tennessean, “Houser Rice is a hell of a football player. He’s one of the best linebackers I’ve ever been associated with. The tougher it gets, the better he plays. If I was going to Saudi Arabia, I’d want to take Houser with me.” A newspaper reporter quoted Houser regarding his defensive philosophy, “I want to make every tackle on every play; that way I know the ball carrier is down.” When Houser was 18 years old, he joined Bethlehem United Methodist Church. He attended Lambuth College and MTSU. In 1993 Houser enlisted and served 3 years in the Marine Corps including 1 year in Okinawa, Japan. He returned to Franklin in 1996 where for a period of time he worked as a volunteer wrestling coach at Page Middle and Franklin High School. His experience and knowledge of wrestling enabled him to be an excellent coach. Later he moved to Atlanta, GA to attend and graduate from Chattahoochee Technical College with a degree in culinary arts. Although he did not pursue a career in the culinary industry, he loved preparing and serving his family and friends special food dishes in his unique way. One of his many delightful desserts was “Killer Cheesecake”.
Returning to Franklin, Houser worked in the landscape industry for 20 years and for several years owned and managed R&R Landscape. More than work Houser enjoyed being with his friends, cooking, fishing and golf. He loved to watch and analyze all aspects of football. On February 27, 2009, his son, Baylor Houser Rice, was born. Throughout the rest of Houser’s life, Baylor was his main focus and source of joy. He cherished the time they were together. Recently, Houser had spoken with Baylor concerning the importance of a 4-year college education. He was very impressed and proud of Baylor’s intellect and musical ability. Above all he wanted Baylor to succeed in whatever career choice he made.
He is preceded in death by his grandparents, Chester and Rebecca Hayes, Richard H. Rice and Margaret J. Waters and Aunt Patricia Phipps.
His survivors include his parents, his beloved son, Baylor Houser Rice; Baylor’s grandfather & guardian, Wayne Womack; Baylor’s mother, Jody Rice; sisters, Carrie (Greg) Finan, Amy (Paul) Aponte; aunts, Becky (Keith) Qualls, Stephanie and Deborah Rice; Uncle Philip (Laurel) Rice; nieces, Megan Finan, Lauren Finan and Allison Seltz; nephews, Matthew Seltz and Scott Finan.
Houser’s Aunt Deborah Rice wrote, “He left quickly, No more suffering, His struggles are over now, He is with the Lord for eternity, Praise God, He is not Alone! He was a sweet spirit, Not to be forgotten! We will miss him.”
Houser’s last updated Facebook page included a quote from C. S. Lewis, “There are far, far better things ahead than we leave behind.”
In lieu of flowers, Houser’s wish would be that contributions in his memory be made to a college fund for his son, Baylor. Mail to: Baylor Rice, c/o Richard and Malissa Rice, 497 Royal Crossing, Franklin, TN 37064.
Private Memorial Services with Military Honors will be held at Harpeth Hills Memorial Gardens for Houser’s family and 1991 FHS Classmates.
Masks are required.