July 10, 1949 – March 17, 2023
KITTY HAWK — Garrett Morgan Rice (Gary), a beloved family man passed away on May 17, 2023, at the age of 73, in Kitty Hawk, NC. He was born on July 10, 1949, in Pineville, KY, to Verda J. Rice and Kelly T. Rice, both of whom preceded him in death. He grew up in Virginia Beach, VA and has lived on the Outer Banks for the past 35 years.
Gary began surfing at age ten and continued throughout his life. His natural ability allowed him to surf competitively first for Dewey Weber, Hobie and then Wave Riding Vehicles (WRV) surf teams. His passion for surfing took him up and down the East and West Coasts, to Puerto Rico, Central America, and Hawaii.
His passion for surfing extended to his professional life where he was a surfboard builder and artist. In the 1970s and early 80s, he was a partner in Rice Bros. of Haleiwa where he built boards for Surf Line Hawaii, Surfboards Hawaii, Lightning Bolt, and other prominent Hawaii brands. In 1987 Gary moved to the Outer Banks as a production manager when WRV established its production factory at Powells Point. Throughout his career he mentored young surfers in the craft that he loved.
Gary had a strong, quiet faith, experienced God’s presence in the ocean, and modeled his values in daily life. He was known for his generosity and willingness to help others but also his playful nature. Family, friends, coworkers, and strangers alike were beneficiaries of his life.
Garrett is survived by his wife, Paula A. Rice; brother, Thomas Rice (Janet Coldsmith); children and step-children, Ann-Morgan Rice, Aven Rice, and Amanda Ezzell (Darrell); grandchildren, Tess Pearce (Stewart), Damon, Kelly, Genevieve, Sophia, Josephine, and Olivia; great-grandchildren, Ryder, Garrett, Artemis, and Thomas; niece, Molly Rice (Joshua Freeman) and nephew, Joe Rice (Kelly); and his toy fox terriers, Verda and Wilder.
The family will hold a celebration of his life at 1:00 pm on June 3, 2023 at Liberty Christian Fellowship (www.libertyobx.com). Memorial donations may be made to the Outer Banks SPCA (PO Box 2477, Manteo NC 27954, or online at obxspca.org), or Toy Fox Terriers Rescue (online at www.tftrescue.com).
Garrett will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.
Twiford Funeral Homes, Outer Banks, is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences and memories may be shared at www.TwifordFH.com.