- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
Richard "Dick" Rice passed away on Dec. 24, 2011, at the age of 74. Dr. Rice was a UC Davis entomologist who worked at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center for 33 years.
Dr. Rice was raised and spent much of his career in the Central Valley. He attended Sultana Grammar School, Dinuba High School and a semester at Reedley Jr. College before going on to UC Davis in 1956. There he earned his bachelor's degree in 1960 and master's degree in 1961 before serving two years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist. He earned his Ph.D. in insect ecology and agricultural entomology at UC Davis in 1967.
Dr. Rice's specialty became pest management in tree fruit and nut crops. He worked closely with the tree fruit and nut industries in the Central Valley on a number of significant insect and mite pests over his career, becoming especially noted for his research on trapping and monitoring systems for San Jose scale, peach twig borer, navel orangeworm, oriental fruit moth, codling moth, omnivorous leafroller, and a number of Hemipterans attacking pistachios and almonds.
UC Davis entomology professor Frank Zalom said Dr. Rice's research helped make the producers of California fruit and nut crops dominant in world markets today.
"His contributions cannot be overstated," Zalom said. "He was an early innovator in using management approaches to regulatory and quarantine entomology, focusing on developing acceptable programs for exporting California's fruit to other countries through cultural management and monitoring while minimizing the use of disruptive and environmentally harsh interventions."
Dr. Rice was an active member of the Entomological Society of America. He served as President of the Pacific Branch and Secretary-Treasurer for three years.
Dr. Rice was born in Dinuba on Sept. 5, 1937, to F. Edwin and Eleanor Rice. He served on the USDA/CDFA Medfly Science Advisory Panel, and on science advisory committees for the California avocado, citrus, stone fruit, nut and olive industries. Upon his retirement in 2001, he received the status of entomologist emeritus at UC Davis and remained active professionally as a consultant to several agricultural industry commissions.
Dr. Rice was a long-time member of the First Presbyterian Church of Dinuba, Dinuba Lions Club and the Kings River Golf & Country Club.
Dr. Rice was preceded in death by his parents; and his sisters, Joanne DeWitt and Barbara Rice. Dick is survived by his wife of 20 years, Carol; his son Kevin of Truckee; his daughters, Kim Lindell and husband Chris of Mancos, Co., and Kari Bettencourt of Sonoma; sister, Bette George and husband Steve of Sultana; and step-children, Scott Lewis and wife Renata, and Cari Hager and husband Edward; and grandchildren, Samantha and Cameron Rice and Corey Lewis.
As a tribute to Dr. Rice, donations may be made to the Kingsburg Cancer Volunteers, P.O. Box 26, Kingsburg, CA 93631; Alta District Historical Society, P. O. Box 254, Dinuba, CA 93618 and Nancy Hinds Hospice, 1616 W. Shaw, Ste C-1, Fresno, CA 93711.
(From the family obituary and other reports.)