Dr. Patrick Oliver Rice
On Monday June 13th, 2022 at Portage District General Hospital, Patrick Oliver Rice passed away at the age of 70. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife Delnora Rice nee Scott; sons Gareth and Liam; siblings Brenda Rice Kearney of Kerry, Ireland, Mary Rice O’Toole of London, England, Michael Rice of Sligo, Ireland and Martin Rice of Kerry, Ireland; brothers-in-law Michael Kearney, Tommy O’Toole, Gareth Scott, Charles Scott, James Scott; sisters-in-law Teresa Rice, Katrina Scott, Zelia Scott De Gannes, Euline Charles and Emlyn Charles; nieces and nephews Gráinne Rice Flynn, Maurice Kearney, Micheál Rice, Anna–Maria Rice O’Toole, Michael (Sonny) Kearney, Thomas O’Toole, Stephen Kearney, Anne Rice O’Sullivan, Nicholas O’Toole, Pádraig Rice and Sarah Rice; as well as his nephews-in-law and nieces-in-law and grandnephews and grandnieces. Predeceased by his parents Michael (Mikey) and Mary Ann (Mae) Rice nee Finn; brother Sean; sister Anne; niece Monica; son Andre and sister-in-law Marcella.
Patrick (Paddy) Oliver Rice was born on 28th January 1952 in Cappaclough West, Camp in the West of Ireland. He was the first son of Michael (Mikey) Rice of Camp and Mary Ann (Mae) Finn of Stradbally. He joined a household of his uncle Martin, three sisters Brenda, Mary and Anne. He was joined by three brothers Sean (deceased), Michael and Martin.
The family endured stress and hardship caused by their beloved Daddy’s long illness from Parkinson’s Disease (brought on from surviving the Spanish Flu) but Paddy’s talents were apparent from an early age. Aged twelve, he was awarded a County Council scholarship to St. Brendan’s College, Killarney. He was only at St. Brendan’s for a few weeks when he received notice of his father’s death and had to return home. He was a full-time boarder at St. Brendan’s until 18 years of age. He returned home to help on the family farm for the Christmas, Easter and Summer holidays.
From St. Brendan’s, he went to University College Cork (UCC) to read medicine. His time at UCC left him a lasting love of Cork as his “adopted city.” Each summer as a student, he traveled to London, where two of his sisters lived. He worked as a porter at Whipps Cross Hospital during the day. At night, he played the tin whistle and busked on the London Underground with three friends boasting a repertoire of four to six songs. As he described it himself, “six on a good night, four on a bad night.”
Paddy often hitchhiked home from Cork. Whenever he was picked up, he asked the driver, “Do you want me to stay silent, do you want me to talk to you or do you want me to sing you a song?” One driver asked him to sing a song and Paddy remembered with pride that the driver was none other than Ronnie Drew of The Dubliners who told him he had a “great way with a song.” This musicality held him in good stead throughout his life. During Wren Day celebrations (26th December), his brother Michael fondly remembers performing with Paddy a capella in Peter Daly’s pub in Camp. A day of performances that raised hundreds of pounds for charity.
Paddy graduated from UCC in 1975 and returned to Whipps Cross Hospital to work on rotation across the hospital. After a couple of years, he moved to Cambridge, England, to complete his training as a general practitioner. He lived in Cambridge for three years before he transferred to Old Church Hospital in Romford, England.
In 1981, Paddy moved to Leaf Rapids in Northern Manitoba, Canada before moving to Beausejour and then Rossburn. His next stop was Portage La Prairie. This would eventually become his home and final resting place. Throughout his life, Paddy sought out ordinary people with extraordinary stories. In Beausejour, he started a lifelong friendship with Mick Baxter, an Englishman. During his time in Rossburn, the Clelands became like family and the bond remains strong. Through his love of outdoor pursuits, he built a lasting friendship with Don Staples. Before his illness, Paddy regularly walked every evening with his walking buddy Jim Ogilve. Just like his wide academic interests, Paddy’s sporting pursuits ranged from marathon running to boxing to Ukrainian dancing.
Paddy was one of the original group of eight doctors who came together from different clinics across Portage to establish the Portage Clinic. This collegiate way of working suited his temperament and he was proud that this collaborative model was a success.
Echoing his childhood, within a year of moving to Canada, Paddy was called back to Europe after the tragic death of his sister Anne. He returned to London and traveled home to see his sister buried in the family plot in Killiney Cemetery in County Kerry, Ireland. He was a great comfort to his mother and siblings at this deeply sad time.
Paddy’s love of learning never stopped. He constantly added to his medical training and qualifications. His broad range of medical expertise from general practice to anesthesia gave him a fulfilling and varied career. He completed additional training in anesthetics and trained as a flight surgeon. He became the flight surgeon for the local air force base and a Medical Examiner too. He traveled with the dental surgery team to northern provinces. He also went to Guatemala with Medicos en Accion numerous times to volunteer as an anesthetist. In 2003, he completed an Art History Degree at the University of Winnipeg. He commuted into Winnipeg while he worked full time as a doctor. He was also an avid reader and scholar of Shakespeare.
In 1994, he met the love of his life, Delnora Scott. They were engaged and married within six months in her home country of Tobago. Paddy was known for his love of casual wear and disdain for formalities. He often quoted his own father’s description of clothes and accessories as being “too stylish for Camp”. When he left the UK, Paddy originally planned to go to Australia, but Canada stole his affections. In 1998, Delnora and Paddy traveled to Australia to complete that journey and Paddy worked as a locum for 10 weeks in Australia. When they returned, he was confident he made the right choice staying in Canada. After the sad loss of their son Andre in 1998, they welcomed two more sons: Gareth in 1999 and Liam in 2003. Paddy dedicated the latter half of his life to being a loving and loyal husband and father. He shared his love of music, travel, literature and history with his sons. As a family, they traveled widely including regular visits to family in Tobago and Ireland. This created proud Canadians with strong connections to their parents’ home countries with a love of music and respect for learning.
Paddy’s death is a devastating loss to his family, friends and colleagues. His family thanks everyone for their thoughts, prayers and help at this time.
Viewing and Visitation will be held at McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Funeral Service will take place at Highway Pentecostal Church on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 at 2:00 pm, led by Pastor Calvin Young. The service will be recorded and uploaded to view once available on Paddy’s obituary page on our website listed below.
As expressions of sympathy, donations may be made in Paddy’s memory to Prairie Fusion Arts and Entertainment, 11-2nd Street NE, Portage la Prairie, MB R1N 1R8 or the Portage District General Hospital Foundation, 524 – 5th Street SE, Portage la Prairie, MB, R1N 3A8.
A tree will be planted in memory and cared for by McKenzies Portage Funeral Chapel. www.mckenziesportagefuneralchapel.com