Robert Sinclair Rice

31_OBIT_RiceBob, as he was known, was born June 21, 1934 in Sheridan, Wyo. He was the fifth of six children of Samuel S. Rice and Myrta Mae (Watson) Rice. He was preceded in death by Sam Jr., Marguerite (DesJarlais), Helen Jane (Patterson) (Unicum) and Chester (Chet) Rice.
The author, Bill Rice, is the last surviving sibling. Also preceding him in death is his first wife, Wanda Story and second wife, Carolyn Davis.
He leaves behind six surviving children: Bob Ebert, Aaron, Darcy, Derrick, Robert and Shane and many grand and great grandchildren. He is survived by his children and his current wife Beverley (Ulmer).
The Rice and Watson families were early pioneers and homesteaders in the last half of the 1800s. Grandfather Samuel W. Rice homesteaded near Beulah, WY. Dave Watson and his wife, Mini Mae Brown homesteaded on Watson Creek (currently owned by the Chatfield family).
Mini Brown’s family homesteaded at the base of Green Mountain near Sundance. Dave Watson’s first house was a “dug-out” in the side of a valley on Watson Creek. When I lived there, only a shallow indent in the ground marked its location.
Sam and Myrta lived in Sheridan until about 1940, when they moved back to Sundance and onto one half of the Watson homestead. The other half was inherited by mom’s Sister Agnes, wife of Alfred Sleep of Spearfish, SD, the son of another early homesteader.
Alfred Sleep was the third generation on their family homestead and also built the first gas station in Spearfish, SD. Our family ranched both halves of the Watson homestead, the Sleep side in partnership with Alf and Agnes Sleep.
From an early age, Bob reveled in stories of the heyday of the fur traders and wished he had been born a hundred years sooner so as to have lived in those dangerous times. As an alternative, Bob set about hunting and trapping and guiding hunters on the ranch and several neighboring ranches and in the Bear Lodge Mountains.
He was stealthy in the woods and a keen observer of game sign and their habits. He was also the best marksman I have ever known.
He quit high school at the age of 16 to work full time on the ranch. He lived and breathed the cowboy life and became an excellent horseman and all-around ranch hand and an intrepid daredevil with a heart of gold and a quick and mischievous wit.
After dad died in 1957, Bob continued on the ranch and married Wanda and had one child, Bob Ray (Ebert). About 1963, Mom, (Myrta Rice) sold her part of the homestead to our neighbors, the Chatfields. Bob and Wanda divorced a few years later.
He then married Carolyn Davis and worked on the Dean Davis ranch near Hulett, WY for a while, then moved on to become a lumberjack, shake-bolt cutter and heavy equipment operator, among other things. He lived in many states: WY, NM, CO, WA, OR, MT, ID, etc.
During his career as a lumberjack, etc., he had several close calls with death. The worst one, in New Mexico, he ran off the road and crashed into a tree, causing major injuries to several major organs and many broken bones.
The second worst came after Bob and Carolyn inherited half the Davis Ranch. He was crushed between his pickup and a baler on which he was working.
This accident broke all of his ribs from one side from his sternum. Over the years, I think you could have more easily counted the number of unbroken bones than broken ones.
Bob was one of a kind, he had many friends and few enemies and he will be sorely missed!
A memorial service will be held on August 25, 2018 at the Ranch about seven miles east of Hulett, WY.