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Mary Evelyn (Hodges) Rice

October 20, 1938 ~ August 20, 2020 (age 81)


Mary Evelyn Rice, 81, of Dardanelle, died Thursday, August 20, 2020 at Circle of Life Hospice Center in Springdale, AR.  The daughter of Leona Lucille Hodges and Jack Henderson Crain, she was born October 20, 1938, in Dardanelle.  She was the wife of the late Opal Fay Rice, whom she married on February 1, 1958, and with whom she is now together again forever.

Mary earned her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Arkansas Tech University, and taught the third grade in the Dardanelle School District for over 30 years.  She was a member of the Arkansas Education Association and the Arkansas Retired Teachers Association.

She was a published author, having written two books.  “The Rainbow Crane,” (Infinity Publishing, 2010), is a book of memoirs of her life while growing up in the South when cotton was king. At an early age recovering from poliomyelitis and the corrective surgeries, she discovered that grandmothers and front porches are extremely important.

“Gotcha’s of Life,” (Grand Dog Publishers, 2013) is a collection of unforeseen events and unexpected situations that occurred in her life. It is a memoirs book with a twist, consisting of three major themes: Gotchas, Tight-spots, and Family stories.  Both collections share a meaningful and lasting legacy to her life and the ways in which she enriched the lives of others, especially her family and students.

Mary was a southern Christian who believed earnestly in God.  She enjoyed working crossword puzzles, collected elephants, and dearly loved life with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband Opal Fay Rice; and her parents.

She is survived by her daughter, Melinda Turnbull (Perry) of Rogers; four grandchildren: P.J. Turnbull (Dawn) of Rogers; Lindsey Townsend (Ben) of Seattle, WA; Whitney Leavitt (Kyle) of Gilbert, AZ; and McKenzie Turnbull (Alexis) of Rogers; 11 grandchildren: Indi, Iris & Ace Leavitt, all of Gilbert, AZ; Maxwell, Kate, Henry & Reese Turnbull, each of Rogers; Gabriel & Naomi Townsend of Seattle; and Braelyn & Hadley Turnbull, of Rogers.

A family-led private graveside service and burial will be held at Brearley Cemetery in Dardanelle under the direction of Humphrey Funeral Service.  Internet obituary and on-line guest book are available at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Evelyn (Hodges) Rice, please visit our floral store.


Private Family Graveside Service

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