Andrea Sue "Susi" Rice, 68, of Olathe, passed away on December 29, 2018 at her home surrounded by her family.
She was born on March 6, 1950 to Myron and Alice (Rucinski) Garner in Kansas City, KS. She graduated from Bishop Miege High School in 1968 and went on to attend Donnelly College.
On May 7, 1971, she married Ralph Edward Rice, Jr. They lived in Lenexa, Topeka and St Louis, and Olathe has been their home for the last 38 years.
Susi and Ralph had three boys (Scott, Mark, and Brandon). Susi raised the children at home in the early years of their lives and volunteered frequently at their elementary school, Havencroft. As her children got older, she transitioned to a permanent job with the Olathe School District, most recently working as a kindergarten teacher’s aide in addition to working as an independent consultant for Mary Kay products. Susi was creative and unafraid to leap into new projects and adventures, and she passed these traits on to her own children every day and to many others as a cub scout den mother. Her home remains overwhelmingly decorated with the fruits of her creativity and creation as well as those she inspired in others.
In more recent years, Susi enjoyed reading, traveling with Ralph, crafts, bowling, visiting wineries and spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren. She also cheered for the Royals, having attended Spring Training in 2014 and 2015, and the Chiefs, having been a season ticket holder.
Susi battled breast cancer for the last 2 years. Her first diagnosis, HER2 Positive, in November, 2016, resulted in chemo followed by double mastectomy and reconstruction. We believed, based on tests at the time, that we had won the battle. Then, in May of 2018, she noticed another lump. It was biopsied and determined to be cancerous. This time it was identified as Triple Negative. It was metastatic as well. This recurrence was much more difficult and the side-effects from the treatment were severe, resulting in hospitalizations. The cancer recurrence and complications were too great to overcome. She entered Hospice Care on December 25, 2018.
Yet, through all of this she never complained. She simply faced each challenge head on and moved forward. She faced these challenges with the same strength and bravery she had shown throughout her entire life. She’s a wonderful model to our family.
We’ve lost her from this earth but we gained a beautiful and loving guardian angel!
Surviving are her loving husband, Ralph, sons Scott (Britney) Rice, Mark (Wendy) Rice and Brandon Rice, grandchildren, Mary Brooke, Matthew, Maxwell, Dale and Rose, brothers, Dan (Velana) Garner, Jim (Carol) Garner, John (Liane) Garner, Phil (Maggie) Garner and sisters Mary (Darryl) Stone and Paula Garner, and a loving extended family including Vivi Crosa-Zavala (Miguel) in Paraguay. She was preceded in death by her parents, and brother Michael Garner.
Services will be held on Friday, January 4, 2019 at Penwell-Gabel, 14275 Black Bob Road, Olathe, KS 66062. Visitation at 1:30 pm with services at 2:30 pm.
Donations are suggested to the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation in lieu of flowers.
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