Lesley Lawrence Rice

Born: Fri., Sep. 27, 1957
Died: Mon., Feb. 11, 2019

Celebration of Life

2:00 PM Mon., Feb. 18, 2019
Location: St. Ignatius Gym

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Our community lost the best storyteller, coach, friend, dad, grandpa, and husband who lived every second on his own terms...AHHSUM!  Les lived a life full of joy and happiness. He lost his battle with cancer after kicking its butt for over six years.


Les was born in Missoula in 1957, but St. Ignatius was always his home.  He grew up on the Allard homestead north of town, where his grandparents Georgian and Sidney, and his parents, Tena and Luke, taught him about hard work and farm life.  They were allowed to watch one show per week, and the rest of the time, they had to be creative; thus, Les became a great storyteller! Les, his brothers, and his many cousins enjoyed the outdoors while spending many summers at their grandparents’ farm.


In high school, Les went to the prom with Lou, well, with Lou and her actual date, just the three of them.  In 1982, after many years of friendship, they went on their first date to a 24-hour dance marathon, which they won!  Not too long later, Les asked Lou to marry him. Lou had three kids already, and Les didn’t hesitate to raise Stacey, Rob, and Ryan as his own.  In 1986, after chanting “Boston Celtics” and “Miami Dolphins” to Lou’s pregnant belly, Amanda was born, and their family was complete.


At home, Les was a supportive dad who was really proud of his kids.  He encouraged them to work hard at home in the yard or garden even when they didn’t want to.  He helped his kids with their homework, and he and Lou chaperoned their dances and danced more than the students did. He played the coolest video games with them and watched cheesy movies with them.  


Les was involved in everything the kids were into.  He coached Rob and Ryan in Little League baseball, Stacey in softball, Amanda in soccer and softball, and all four in basketball.  But, then again, what Mission kid hadn’t been coached by Coach Rice in some sport? Besides football, tennis, and baseball, he worked with the basketball program in Mission at every level.  Les’s basketball practices were famous for the stations and sidelines he would make the players run because he did the exercises with them and almost always won! Heaven forbid you wore black socks or orange anything to practice.


Coach Rice made every basketball bus ride fun with his stories.   All the players would scoot as closely as they could to the front of the bus to see if Les would include them as a unicorn, a mermaid, a skunk, an ogre, or a blonde donkey, with the role of the beautiful queen going to Lou, who rode next to him for hundreds of hours to and from basketball games.


Les worked several jobs, but his last one was at Mountain West Coop in Ronan.  He loved the people he worked with, and he even sent his “bosses” at Cenex flowers to arrive the day he died.  


Les had some of the funniest quirks about him.  Who could forget his love of tapioca pudding AND the unique way he ate it?  He cried at sports movies and sappy movies about dogs. He loved to share a Reese’s peanut butter cup with his granddaughter Brynn.   He would dig for hours in his flower beds, earning the name “Diggingest Dad” from Lou. Les’s level of passion and knowledge of basketball was found in only a few people.


Les was convinced people never stepped foot on the Moon and would argue with anyone who would try to give him evidence that supported that we did actually make it there.  “Why haven’t we ever been back then?”


Many people loved Les.  He leaves behind his wife of 36 years, Lou; his mom Martena Savage of St. Ignatius; his daughters Stacey (David) Doll and Amanda (Sean) Rice of St. Ignatius; his sons Rob (Erin) Allard of St. Ignatius and Ryan (Natalie) Allard of Isle of Palms, SC.  His grandkids, Brynn, Sawyer, Malin, Adlai, Nate, Beth, and Alex; his brothers Kent, Scott, Clint, and Joe and his sister Rhonda; his father Shine Rice and their families. He leaves behind his fellow coaches, his players, and the referees who he sparred with.  He is preceded in death by his dad Luke Savage and his grandparents Georgian and Sidney Allard and his in-laws Dan and Betty McCollum.


A Celebration of Life will be held Monday, February 18, 2019 at 2:00 pm at the St. Ignatius High School Gym.


“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”-Robert Frost

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Condolence Booklet

Peggy lindwall
   Posted Wed February 13, 2019
My heart hurts so bad for you all but knowing led is not in pain anymore helps. He will be missed. Love you

MaryRose Morigeau
   Posted Wed February 13, 2019
My heartfelt condolences to Lou and all the family. Les impacted everyone he came in contact with. God bless.

Pam Cordis-Gann
   Posted Wed February 13, 2019
Dear Lou and family,
I am so very sorry for your loss..I will be praying for your family! The journey of grief is so painful, I pray that God will surround you with His love and give you peace.
All my love,

Lynn Delecaris
   Posted Wed February 13, 2019
To Lou and family I am so very very very very very very very very very sorry for your loss of a great friend and a excellent MISSION girls basketball coach. Les was a pleasure to meet and get to know. I was very sad to hear about his passing. I will miss him. Rest in peace Les Rice (AKA) rice dish.

Shannon Murphy
   Posted Thu February 14, 2019
Lou and family,
My thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of your deep loss. May you be surrounded by much love from family and friends.

Ken Scott
   Posted Thu February 14, 2019
Les was a wonderful human being,Loved by all. I never heard him complain when he was sick. He was very brave. I pray for the family and friends and that GOD will show them HIS PEACE.

Lord, at the moment nothing seems to be able to help the loss I feel.
My heart is broken and my spirit mourns.
All I know is that Your grace is sufficient.
This day, this hour
Moment by moment
I choose to lean on You,
For when I am at my weakest Your strength is strongest.
I pour out my grief to You
And praise You that on one glorious day
When all suffering is extinguished and love has conquered
We shall walk together again.

John and Clar Walker
   Posted Thu February 14, 2019
Dear Lou and family, We are so sorry for your loss. You all are in our thoughts and prayers.

Dick and Joan Krantz
   Posted Thu February 14, 2019
Dearest Lou and family, We were so sad to hear about Les. What a great, wonderful guy, role model to so many young people. What a difference he made in so many lives. Our girls loved him as a coach. Prayers to you all.Words from Chief Dan George: May the stars carry your sadness away, May flowers fill your hearts with beauty, May hope forever wipe away your tears, and above all, May silence make you strong!

Mary Ensworth
   Posted Thu February 14, 2019
Behind every tear of sadness lurks the smile of memories.
My love and prayers to your family Lou.
Les was one marvelous human being.

Cheri Cote
   Posted Thu February 14, 2019
Lou and family, I am so sorry for your loss. He will be missed in our community. My thoughts and prayers are with you. ❤️

Karman Krantz Klundt
   Posted Thu February 14, 2019
Dear Lou & family,
I’m so sorry to hear! Hugs & prayers to you and all of your family. Les had an incredible impact on so many and your love for each other defined “relationship goals”! Love, Karman

Robin Morigeau
   Posted Thu February 14, 2019
My heartfelt condolences to the entire family. Les was and will always be an inspiration to all that knew him.

Roy Heffern
   Posted Thu February 14, 2019
It is hard to lose a loved one but one never loses LOVE. I wish you and your family peace. My heart goes out to you and hope sunshine will brighten your days. R.I.P. Les, you will be missed but not forgotten.

Nar Lopez
   Posted Fri February 15, 2019
Dear Lou & Family,

Sending lots of prayers and love to you and entire family, he will be so missed.

Pat and Jane Tougas
   Posted Sun February 17, 2019
Our sincere and heartfelt sympathy to you Lou and all of your children and family,may your wonderful memories help at this oh so difficult time!! Pat and Jane

Shirley Olsen Falck
   Posted Sun February 17, 2019
Lou and Family,

Hugs and prayers of comfort for the loss. What a great man.

   Posted Wed February 20, 2019
My sincerest condolences to your family. I didn’t know Les personally but he sounds like a fantastic person. As I’ve lost very close ones, it has helped me to remember the promise at Revelation 21/3,4 of a sure future with no more suffering or death. Until that time, God assures us at Psalms 34/18 that He is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. I hope you find these as comforting as I have.

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