Family, friends remember Kit Rice with humor |

Family, friends remember Kit Rice with humor

Melinda Dudley

Kit Rice

— In addition to being a great first-base player, hockey goalie and listener, Kit Rice was a gag gifter, Yahtzee player and a proud member of the polar bear club, longtime friend Diane Dwire said Saturday.

At one time, among her friends and teammates, Rice was dubbed the “queen of organizing events with extremely large numbers of people in attendance.”

“Try fitting that on a sash,” Dwire said.

One of Val Dietrich’s earliest memories of Rice was from a road trip to Salt Lake City, where Rice taught members of the Chix with Stix women’s hockey team curling, using a teakettle and a basting brush. This was in 1997, when Dietrich was new to team, having been urged by Rice to join despite knowing nothing about the sport.

“She pushed (you) to your potential,” Dietrich said. “The challenge for all of us friends and family is to move forward as Kit would’ve wanted us to. Live life, and laugh often.”

Steamboat Springs Sports Coordinator Kathleen Marie “Kit” Rice was remembered fondly by friends and family Saturday, during a memorial service at Howelsen Ice Arena.

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Rice, 47, died Sept. 28 at Yampa Valley Medical Center of pulmonary embolism, after a blood clot found its way into her lungs. Rice had driven herself to the hospital Sept. 26, after colliding with another player during the second annual Kickball Classic tournament at Howelsen Hill – an accident that appeared to be unrelated to her death.

Rice, an Illinois native who moved to Steamboat in 1989, lived in Stagecoach with her partner of eight years, Laura Stamp, and Stamp’s son.

She began working for the city in 1998, as a seasonal employee in the parks division. She became a full-time employee in 2002 and sports coordinator three years ago.

Recreation Supervisor Susan Petersen, with the help of other staffers from Parks, Open Space and Recreational Services, unveiled a banner Saturday that will be placed in the rink at Howelsen Ice Arena in memory of Rice.

The banner was emblazoned with one of Rice’s favorite sayings, which Petersen said stemmed from her father: “Life is a game to be played : not a problem to be solved.”

Friends and family took turns walking out onto the ice Saturday, to share their favorite memories and say their goodbyes.

“We’re standing out here, talking about this decades too early, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around that,” brother Barry Rice said.

Friend and teammate Sue Heineke shared a quote from Maya Angelou: “People will not remember what you said. People will remember what you did. People will remember how you made them feel.”

“Kit made all of us feel like we were the most important person,” Heineke said. “She had an incredible connection, a gift, to make us all feel so special. And you were as special to her as she was to you.”

“That’s a big void. We’re going to miss her,” she said.