S2c William Albert Rice

Unknown Sailor

S2c William Albert Rice

William Albert Rice was born April 26, 1918 in Walla Walla in southwest Washington. His mother, Olive Marquis Rice, was a homemaker and his father, Thomas H. Rice, a machinist.

The mother died in a house fire in November 1919 and the boy moved to La Grande, Oregon, to live with his maternal grandparents and six of their children. Bill, as he was known, returned to Washington for his final three years of high school and lived with his father, who had remarried, in Ellensburg in the central part of the state.

He graduated from the local high school and then worked at his father’s service station. The 1940 Census said Bill Rice worked 50 weeks in 1939 and earned $240. His two half brothers also worked at the station.

Mr. Rice enlisted in the Navy on Jan. 28, 1941. He was a seaman second class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that Dec. 7.

An article in the local newspaper said he loved boating and joined the Navy to see the world.

His body was recovered and he is buried at the International Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery in Ellensburg.


Sources: the Ellensburg (Washington) Daily Record; the Portland Oregonian; Washington birth index; Washington marriage license; Census; Navy muster roll; grave marker. Ellensburg High yearbook photograph. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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