Ira Y. Rice, Jr. (1917 - 2001), was born August 3, 1917 at Franklin, Texas. He passed from this life on October 10, 2001. Ira was the son of Ira Y. Rice Sr., and the former Eula Edna Davis. Baptized at the age of twelve by A. R. Holton, at Norman, Oklahoma, he began preaching while yet a boy, in 1932. He was married to Vada Ott on June 19, 1947.
After ministries at Noble and Paul's Valley, Oklahoma; Edcouch and Mercedes, Texas; Paso Robles, San Rafael, Richmond, and San Francisco, California; and Seattle, Washington, he went, in 1955, to plant the churches of Christ in Singapore, Malaysia, and Southeast Asia, where he spent several years in mission work.
Having preached for over sixty years, Ira was the Founding and Senior Editor of Contending For The Faith and Editor of the Far East/ World Evangelism Newsletter. He was also the author of several books including: We CAN Evangelize the World, Axe On The Root—Volumes I, II, and III, and his autobiography Pressing Toward The Mark, Volumes I and II. He had been working on the third volume. His 27-lesson Basic Bible Course has been translated into 16 languages and is used world-wide. Brother Rice was a teacher in singing schools and recorded four albums of gospel music with his family, he spoke and lectured at gospel meetings and lectureships, he trained preachers, and was a co-founder and President of Four Seas College of Bible and Missions in Singapore and had served as Chairman of its Board of Directors since 1968. He had been a missionary to the Far East under the oversight of the elders of the Bellview Church of Christ, Pensacola, Florida, since 1978. Ira had preached the Gospel in over sixty countries around the world and helped to establish the church of Christ in Latvia.
In the late 1970s, among those present at one of Bellview's lectures were three preachers who had worked closely together in California as young men in the Lord's cause. They were George Darling, Linwood Bishop, and Ira Y. Rice, Jr. It was a grand reunion to say the least. Now, brother Rice goes on to his reward as have brother Darling and brother Bishop.
Among missionaries very few can claim to be the equal to brother Rice. His life was a demonstration of the spreading of God's Word to the world. Just a few weeks prior to his death he returned from a missionary trip which spanned Russia from west to east. On October 10, 2001 he had just begun his trip home from a gospel meeting in Texas when he lost his life.
All men pass into history but few are long remembered. Brother Rice left his mark upon the Lord's cause while in this life. He will not be soon forgotten. Many mourn his death.
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14).
The Basic Bible Course written by Ira Y. Rice, Jr., is available in PDF (portable document format).