Ernest Rice, ‘Captain Bill’

September 9, 2021

Ernest "Bill” Melvin Rice, 81, of Lewes passed away at home Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021. He was born June 17, 1940, in Lewes, son of the late Ernest M. and Charlotte (Smith) Rice.

Bill was a proud veteran, having honorably served in the U.S. Marine Corps. After his military service, he started his own business along with his wife, Jean, called Indian River Lobster Co., where they provided seafood to the area. Bill started first clamming commercially, then fishing, and then went on to become one of Delaware’s first lobstermen.

Bill was innovative, a veritable craftsman who built his own lobster pots and fishing nets. He was inspiring and a great teacher, sharing his wisdom and love unconditionally. Bill was a respected man amongst his family, community and friends. Bill was our hero. Above all, Bill enjoyed spending time with those he held most dear. He was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, teacher and best friend. Bill holds a permanent place in all our hearts. We will love you always, Pop Pop "Pops."

Bill is survived by his beloved wife, Jean Delores Rice (Killen); his children: Dwaine Rice of Maryland, Angela Rice (Shawn Rodgers) of Lewes, and Jill Rice of Lewes; his grandchildren: Dylan Rodgers, Derek Rice (Mary), Daniel Rice, Jacob Mallory (Brit), Jocelyn, Adam Rice, Summer, and Hunter; and his sisters: Betty Jane Cleaver of Lewes, and Libby Hamilton and loving husband Harold of Salisbury, Md.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Parsell Funeral Homes and Crematorium, Atkins-Lodge Chapel, Lewes.

Please visit Bill's Life Memorial Webpage and sign his virtual guestbook at




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