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Jolee (Jo) Rice

Jolee Rice passed away on August 2, 2023. After an awfully hard fight with cancer for 6 months she finally succumbed to it, fighting hard to stay here for us until her body just could not do it. Heaven will be a much more fun place with her in it. Mom was born on August 20, 1941.

A visitation will be held for her on Sunday, August 6th from 4 to 6 pm, and a celebration of life will be held on Monday, August 7th at 10:30 am. At the Merle Hay Chapel, 4400 Merle Hay Rd. Des Moines. Burial will be at the Chapel Hill Gardens Cemetery.

Mom was a resourceful loving independent person learning how to navigate life’s challenges as she was raised in Des Moines with her two brothers. They learned to take care of each other as they moved around in their younger years but always having fun and loving life. She was a member of a dance/tap team at the age of five and was selected to perform on the Bill Riley show in a selected team. Moms’ attention to looking towards the sunshine in life helped to foster her care and compassion for others including the many pets, especially cats, which transferred to her children and beyond.

While she was at North high school, she met the love of her life from Saylorville at 16 and got married on June 4, 1960, at the age of 19. They had their first two children here in Des Moines, Vicki, and Tami. They then moved to Omaha for a few years, where they had Bobby. They only lived in Nebraska for about 5 years but made many friends there before moving back to Urbandale. Where she lived the rest of her life.

She created a paradise back yard with a swimming pool, shared with many families and friends, it was our happy place, so much love, fun times and memories shared. Mom and dad would host epic swim parties that became a core memory for many people, even outside the family. Our home was a place you knew you could go to, to receive love and have a fun time or just relax in the sun (her favorite thing to do). Jo’s nature taught her children that to give is to receive and to love is to be loved!

Mom was one of the bravest women we will ever know, and our home was the heart of all our lives. Our parents were fun and kind and loving and were brought up that way as well. Jo was one of a kind. She loved fiercely and if you were lucky enough to be in her circle, she was your best friend. She never once acted her age and always connected very well with not only her children, but her grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. She stayed with the top trends and always even liked the latest music. She never missed a chance to hang out with family and wanted to still do everything herself despite having macular degeneration. She even went tubing, just last year. She attended all the camping trips, made sure to wear silly outfits and buy funny gag gifts on holidays, had a slew of dirty jokes, and never missed a moment to make someone laugh. Boy did she love to put a smile on people’s faces. She has always been the toughest person you will meet. Never complained once about the chemo or any pain and still insisted on doing things even in the end. We had a swim party just a week before she passed in fact. She loved hard and wanted to live life to the very fullest and she did just that. We will miss her beyond words.

In her own words, “I’m never gone; anytime you feel the sun on your face that is me giving you a kiss.” We feel the sun shining on us now and know she is there. We love you so much!

She is survived by her three children Vicki (Doug) Goodding, Tami (Thomas) Nelson both of Des Moines, Robert JR. (Michelle) Rice of Granger. 7 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. And a brother Steve (Linda) Lundholm of Des Moines along with many close nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her loving husband Robert (Bob) parents Chow and Joan Lundholm and brother Gary Lundholm.


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