Rice, Mary Ann
She was born Mary Ann Bergen on July 5, 1943 to Lionel and Elsie Bergen of Iola. Mary Ann lived an idyllic life on their farm, she loved to fish as a girl and continued to enjoy it throughout her life. She helped her father tend to the animals at a young age and always wished she had a horse along with the cows. However, her parents did not agree. So, Mary Ann being determined to get a special pet of her own trained a cow that she rode as if it was a horse. Later as a teenager she came home and asked her daddy to get her a tube of lipstick, that’s when he offered to buy her a horse. She picked the lipstick. During her teen years, she handpicked cucumbers on neighbor’s farms to earn money, and around that time, she met, dated, then later married David Rice. They married on October 20, 1962. Mary Ann was an extremely artistic person so she and Dave at a young age began a ceramics shop operating out of their own basement, then later moving into a large factory and employed many people throughout the years. Mary Ann and her family enjoyed travelling all over the country to various flower stores and gift shops selling their ceramics. During this time, she also worked for Chet Krause and helped build Krause Publications from the ground floor up, a company that became one of the largest employers in the area. She got to travel with her job at Krause’s and was able to meet many stars along the way. She enjoyed meeting Marie Osmond, but one of her most prized possessions was a hand painted, signed picture of Buddy Ebsen, (Jed Clampett). Mary Ann and Dave enjoyed many hobbies together which included: going to auctions, garage sales, tractor shows, fishing, camping with friends, and the occasional trip to the casino. They loved boating and later became members of the Menasha Coast Guard Auxiliary. Mary Ann had many hobbies, she enjoyed writing stories and rhymes about and for her friends. She had a big smile on her face when she entered a room and loved sharing fun stories with others. She always seemed to have a project going on, she enjoyed making jellies and jams along with pickles, and canning food from the garden. She loved learning new things, she crocheted and knitted along with sewing and making beautiful quilts that she gave to numerous people throughout the years. She had many talents but her real gift was her artwork. She was an amazing artist, and she painted many wonderful pictures. She knew she was a good artist and once in high school when she was assigned to do a book report, she instead did all drawings. The teacher gave her credit for the effort but noted it wasn’t really a book report. Mary Ann’s drawings will be cherished by all who were lucky enough to have received one. Mary Ann was a lifelong member of Northland Lutheran Church and she volunteered for numerous things throughout the years and always gave 100%. She never backed away from a challenge.
Mary Ann is survived by two sons, Jeffrey (Irina) Rice, and Robert (Lynette) Rice both of Iola; a sister Barbara (Joe) Yurso of Virginia Beach Va. and five grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband David, a son Ralph, her sister Virginia Lou, and her parents.
Funeral services for Mary Ann will be held on Wednesday, February 17, 11:00 a.m. at Northland Lutheran Church, with Rev. Dan Sommers officiating. Visitation will be held from 9:30-10:45 a.m. at the church. Interment will follow the service in the parish cemetery. Due to Covid, masks will be required to attend. The service will be recorded and a link can then be found at voiefuneralhome.com on Mary Ann’s obituary page. Voie Funeral Home of Iola is assisting the family with arrangements.