FORDYCE William Elred Rice, 89, of Fordyce, died Wednesday February 22, 2012 at his home.

FORDYCE William Elred Rice, 89, of Fordyce, died Wednesday February 22, 2012 at his home.

He was born in Gainesville, Texas on October 8, 1922 to the late Radney & Carrie Glee Kidd Rice. Mr. Rice was the retired Manager for Benton Funeral Home of Fordyce. He was a Funeral Director & Embalmer for over 50 years. He was a longtime member of the First Baptist Church of Fordyce. Mr. Rice honorably & faithfully served his country in the United States Navy during World War II.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mattie Lue Frey Rice; a daughter, Phyllis Whittingham & her husband Ronnie of Atlanta, Ga.; a grandson, Clayton Seth Whittingham & his wife Jessica of Atlanta, Ga.; a great grandson, James Lawrence Whittingham of Atlanta, Ga.; three sisters, Winnie Duke of Jacksonville, Ark., Norma Langford & her husband Kenneth of Roland, Ark., Faye Harris of Cabot, Ark.; a brother-in-law, Bud Frey & his wife Norma Ruth of Many, La., a step-brother, Donald Lee Langford of Blessing, Texas; three nephews, & six nieces. Mr. Rice was preceded in death by a brother, Herman Rice, & a sister, Erma Burnett.

Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m. Saturday February 25, 2012 at the Benton Funeral Home Chapel. Burial will be in Freehouse Cemetery, with the Rev. Billy Joe Evans & Rev. Stacy Reed officiating. The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Friday evening at the funeral home in Fordyce. The family request memorials be sent to the Freehouse Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 226, Fordyce, Ark., 71742. Arrangements are by Benton Funeral Home of Fordyce. To sign the online register visit www.bentonfuneralhome.com