June 25th, 1951 – October 11th, 2020

James “Lan” Rice passed away peacefully in his New York City home on October 11th, 2020, at the age of 69 from cancer. During the months and days prior to his death, Lan was surrounded by family and dear friends; it brought him comfort to know that he was loved by so many. 

Lan was a deeply caring father, husband, brother, and friend.  Whether it was birdwatching, boating, biking, building or painting, Lan’s purpose and passion for life ran deep; he often found peace in solitude and introspection. 

He is survived by three devoted children: Daniel Alan Rice of Glens Falls, NY; Sara Rose Rice of Henderson, NV; and Timothy James Rice of San Diego, CA. Lan’s pride and joy were his children and his five grandchildren, Dan and Sara Rice’s two daughter’s, Sofia Rae and Mattea Rose; Sara Rose Rice’s two daughter’s, Grace Rose and Nari Rose; and Tim Rice & Kerstin Kraft’s son, Jackson James. Lan would frequently share how proud he was of his legacy made through his family. 

He is predeceased by his wife Cynthia G. Fischer and daughter Katie Grace, who died in infancy. 

Lan was born in Traverse City, MI, to Donna (Slocum) Rice and James Rice, Sr. He often fondly reminisced of his childhood days in Northern Michigan on the old Slocum family farm near Long Lake. After the family moved from Northern Michigan to Wantagh, NY, in 1966, Lan attended Wantagh High School before attending Northwestern Michigan College and Western Michigan University. During this time he married and started a family with Barbara Preller. After college and soon after his oldest son Daniel was born, Lan began working as an independent insurance agent helping to build and run a successful company until his retirement in 2013. Though divorced after 19 years of marriage, Barbara and Lan remained friendly and cordial, never forgetting to place their mutual love for their children and grandchildren as their first priority.

The most important turning point of his life came when he met Cynthia G. Fischer, or “Cinzia amore,” as he would lovingly call her. Cynthia opened up his heart and his world. They were married beside the Hudson River in New York City in August of 1995. Together they became world travelers, patrons of the arts, lovers of the outdoors, and avid readers. They spent precious time together at their homes in Chelsea/NYC, Annecy/France, and Brookhaven Hamlet/LI, and were always quick to visit with family and friends.

Lan remembered Cynthia in her purple wedding dress with flowers in her hair as the most beautiful sight he had ever laid his eyes upon. Lan and Cynthia’s undying love for each other will always be an inspiration to those who knew them. 

His children will remember Lan as a father whose love and commitment was unwavering. He encouraged and empowered them to pursue their dreams. No matter where he was or what he was doing, he was always there for his children. 

Lan was an accomplished and talented painter and craftsman. He was a generous, kind man possessing an unsinkable sense of humor, constantly making jokes and seeking the lighter side of life. 

Just days before his passing, Lan wrote this to his family, “Don’t wait, accept the love that is offered to you.”  

He will be sorely missed, but his loved ones find peace knowing that his spirit will live on through the lives he’s touched.  

Lan’s memorial service will be held virtually on Sunday, November 1st, at 1:00 pm ET. More detailed information will be sent in the coming days. The family will also begin planning for a Spring 2021 in-person celebration of life. Details to come.  

In lieu of flowers, please consider sending a donation to the Rice Family Scholarship at Northwestern Michigan College. This scholarship will support an out-of-state student at NMC, where numerous members of the family have attended classes. This small community college is located just blocks from Lan’s childhood home. To learn more about the Northwestern Michigan College Foundation, please visit: https://www.nmc.edu/about/foundation/index.html

To support the Rice Family Scholarship please send checks to: 

Northwestern Michigan College Foundation
1701 East Front Street
Traverse City, MI 49686

Please make the check out to “NMC Foundation” with a memo note that reads, “Rice Family Scholarship.” 

The family would like to thank the caregivers at Visiting Nurse Services and Privatus Care, as well as the hospital staff at NYU Langone, for their kindness and dedication.

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