Evelyn Delia (Barbato) Rice, of Bedford, died on Feb. 28, 2023 with her family by her side. Born in 1925, she would have been 98 years old on March 13.
She was the daughter of Cesare and Maria (Piantedosi) Barbato of Watertown; and the wife of Edward “Ted” Rice, who passed away in 2003. She leaves behind her four children, Judy Rice (Alan Berkman) of Belmont, Janet Rice (husband Paul Chisholm) of Westford, Joan Rice of Harvard (Doug Mildram of ME), and Jim Rice of Littleton (Stella Beard of Virginia Beach). Evelyn also is survived by four grandchildren: Samantha Cahill (husband Chris Cahill) of Pittsfield, Jake Rice of Littleton, Emmet Norton of Harvard, and Liam Norton of Harvard; sister Eleanor Pacious; cousin Brigida Giovinazzo; and many nieces and nephews. She was also the mother-in-law of the late Bill Norton and Ruth Rice.
Mrs. Rice was a devoted member of St. Michael’s Parish since the 1960s. She and Ted, whose marriage spanned 54 years, moved to Bedford in 1959. They enthusiastically embraced life in the town of Bedford and were active in church and community activities for many decades.
Mrs. Rice loved to learn and try new things. As the child of immigrant parents, she was proud to be the first in her family to graduate from college. She was especially proud to have received her degree in 1947 from Framingham State Teachers College, now Framingham University. Her first teaching assignment was in Ware, MA. She spent most of her 30 years as an educator teaching fourth and fifth grades in Burlington Public Schools.
She retired in 1993 and continued to enjoy close friendships with many of her fellow teachers until the time of her death. Evelyn had a wide circle of friends and loved ones, including those from St. Michael’s Parish, her teaching career, 18 years of volunteer work at Lahey Hospital Radiation Oncology Department, as well as her large extended Italian family, Ted’s family, and community organizations such as the Bedford Garden Club and the Bedford Arts and Crafts Society.
Friends and family remember her unflagging energy and her willingness to jump in and help out, whether it was visiting the sick and elderly as a Eucharistic Minister for St. Michael’s, caring for her grandchildren, or serving on boards of the Bedford Garden Club and the Bedford Arts and Crafts Society.
Mrs. Rice served as president of the Bedford Arts and Crafts Society for several terms. One of her most innovative volunteer projects while at Lahey was to organize patients who were waiting for their radiation treatments and to knit and crochet hats for chemo patients and lap robes for residents of nearby nursing homes. It was a popular project that gave patients a chance to engage with each other and the community.
Evelyn loved to travel. Her travels included Italy, Ireland, France, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, England, Scandinavia and the Holy Land. She also enjoyed traveling to historic sites in the U.S. One of her goals was to visit the home of every U.S. president which she nearly accomplished.
Evelyn’s other interests included the arts, especially classical music and opera. One of her favorite summertime activities was to drive to Tanglewood in Lenox and to see the Boston Pops perform on the 4th of July.
She also enjoyed painting in watercolor. Many of her vibrant creations adorn the walls of her home. Mrs. Rice was an avid reader and would read anything anywhere. She laughingly recalled being punished for reading instead of doing chores as a child.
Playing Scrabble was a lifelong enthusiasm. She played her last game of Scrabble only a few weeks before her passing.
Mrs. Rice was inclined towards mischief as a child and worked hard to overcome that tendency to be a responsible and caring adult. That mischief occasionally reemerged in recent years, much to the delight of her family and friends.
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