Donald Delbert Rice

1932 -

Donald Rice, a pianist and improvisitory player of hymns and sacred music, has been recognized for his natural talent in music and skill as a pianist wherever he has lived and worked. Now retired and living in Fort Payne, Alabama, he worked primarily as a nurse, pastor, and Bible, biology, and history teacher at Adelphian Academy in Michigan and as a multi-subject elementary classroom teacher for over 36 years in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In his career, he has taught at all levels, from preschool to college.

Rice was born in Englewood, California, one of two children and the only son of Carrol Icis Smith and Donald Edwin Rice. He grew up in Los Angeles, where he studied piano beginning at age ten. Following a brief period of study, he learned the principles of music theory and then practiced daily on his own.

He developed a method for reading and playing chords using simple finger patterns which when slightly altered would result in 9th, 11th, 13th, augmented, diminished and other complex chords without having to memorize the specific notes in all the chords. He was soon in demand, frequently playing special music at weddings, funerals, and church services.

In high school, his Latin teacher, Nellie Cronkhite, a favorite teacher, ignited an interest in and love of ancient history and music. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Rice graduated from La Sierra College, now University, in 1956 with a B.A. in theology. He then completed a master's degree in Bible and systematic theology in 1957at Potomac University, later the Theological Seminary at Andrews University.

Rice did additional study at the University of Southern California, AU, Eastern Michigan University, University of Michigan, University of Arkansas, Southern Arkansas University, Southern Adventist University, Wake Technical College, and Northeast Alabama College. He completed an Ed.D. in secondary education at Brigham Young University in 1986, graduating with Phi Kappa Phi scholastic honors. His dissertation was titled A Description of the SDA School Boards of the Iowa and Missouri Conferences.

While an undergraduate at LSC, he married June Elaine Dyer in 1955. They would adopt and raise six children, Dawn, Dean, Dennis, Daniel, Douglas, and Deborah, before having a biological child, Dorothy. All seven children took piano lessons, with some continuing to play that instrument while others continued in music by playing guitar, flute, clarinet or violin. June, who was a World War II prisoner of war in the Philippines, is a pianist and organist.

The Rices, who have been foster parents for over fifty years and cared for 187 children, are still active in this endeavor. They have placed 186 babies in SDA homes.

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Source: Information provided by Donald Rice, September-November 2010, June 2011, May 2012, and December 2013: personal knowledge.