Cover photo for Melanie L. Rice's Obituary
Melanie L. Rice Profile Photo

Melanie L. Rice

Mel passed away Wednesday, September 1, 2021 at Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo after a long battle with cancer.

She was born December 29, 1966 in Plainwell, the daughter of Irvin and Elaine (Pierce) Figel. Mel was an elementary school teacher in Coloma and Lawrence retiring after 27 years from Lawrence Public Schools. The love of her life was working with children and she enjoyed sharing her ideas with other teachers.

Mel was known for being a procrastinator and loved movies and trivia. She belonged to book clubs and was a class adviser. Most of all Mel loved spending time with her family. On June 29, 1991 at the Otsego Church of God, she married Todd Rice who survives.

Also surviving are her children, Quinton Rice of Rochester Hills and Tessa Rice of Lawton; her parents; siblings, Julie (Steve) Potter and Matthew Figel; sister-in-law, Pattsarun Simpalik; mother-in-law, Phyllis Rice along with many nieces, nephews and extended family members.

She was preceded in death by her grandparents and father-in-law, Arlyn Rice.

According to her wishes cremation has taken place.

Friends may visit with Mel’s family starting at 10:00 A.M., Saturday, September 11, 2021 at the Otsego United Methodist Church until the time of the memorial service at 11:00 A.M., with Pastor Joe Shaler officiating.

For those unable to attend, a live stream of the service will be available at

Contributions in memory of Mel may be made to

Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan

or the

American Cancer Society


Messages of condolence may be posted at

Offer Condolence for the family of Melanie L. Rice

Condolence Messages

Phil Honeysett

September 2, 2021 at 3:15 pm

Sorry for your loss.


Robin Lovett O'Connor

September 2, 2021 at 3:37 pm

It was very sad to hear of Mel passing. I always would ask Elaine about her every time I saw her. Mel was such a strong caring woman. She will be missed. My thoughts and prayers to the family.


Lisa Munsch

September 2, 2021 at 3:37 pm

My deepest condolences to Melanie’s family. I was a hairstylist years ago and loved doing her hair. She had a wonderful sense of humor and was always a joy to talk with.


Patricia VanZoeren

September 2, 2021 at 3:39 pm

With deepest sympathy.

What a wonderful person.


Jeff and Cheryl Taylor

September 2, 2021 at 4:27 pm

Irv and Elaine,

We are so sorry to hear of the loss of your sweet Melanie.

We pray for peace and comfort for you and your whole family.


Pam Try

September 2, 2021 at 4:27 pm

My heart aches for the entire family.

So sorry for your loss. ❤


Melina Leonard

September 2, 2021 at 4:28 pm

I am so sorry for your loss. May God give her eternal rest.


Michael Chase

September 2, 2021 at 4:36 pm

To the Todd Rice Family & the Figel Family,

I’m sorry for the loss of Melanie, I’ve known Melanie since Coach Figel was a Coach for PHS Cross Country team. My condolences to the both families and my prayers and thoughts are with you.


Pam Hopkins

September 2, 2021 at 4:49 pm

My deepest sympathy is extended to Irv and Elaine Figel upon the death of their daughter Melanie. You never want to

believe that you’ll bury your child before you’ve passed. My thoughts and prayers are with you both and your entire



Sally Dsm

September 2, 2021 at 4:53 pm

Oh Todd and Quint and Tessa, and all her family, we are So very sorry to hear of Mel’s passing, she was such a caring sweet person and loved by many !! Bless all of you, knowing she is pain FREE and in the ARMS of her HEAVENLY FATHER!!

HUGS to you all ! Uncle Don and Aunt Sally


Donna Howe

September 2, 2021 at 4:59 pm

Please accept my sympathy at this sad time.


Marilyn Welcher and Jerry Fenner

September 2, 2021 at 5:08 pm

So sorry to hear of your loss. Thinking of you.



Barb Warnez Brenner

September 2, 2021 at 5:37 pm

Irv and Elaine, I am so sorry to hear about Mel’s passing. Worst thing ever is to lose a child. My prayers are with you during this difficult time.


Jasmine Hoffman

September 2, 2021 at 5:41 pm

Such a beautifully remarkable woman. Sending love and sympathy to the Rice family.



September 2, 2021 at 6:29 pm

This is very sad. Mrs.Rice was always so very nice! She was a great teacher ❤️❤️❤️


Claudine Osborne

September 2, 2021 at 6:31 pm


I’m so sorry to hear that your Mom has passed. Prayers for you and your family



Leonard & Natalie Witt

September 2, 2021 at 6:44 pm

You are in our thoughts.


Joey and Ken Klumpp

September 2, 2021 at 6:55 pm

So very sorry for your loss. Words can’t express your.loss. Prayers love and hugs. Joey and Ken Klumpp


Barb Schreuder

September 2, 2021 at 7:04 pm

With deepest sympathy to the entire family. So sorry for your loss.


Christine Augustine Stoughton

September 2, 2021 at 7:12 pm

So sorry to hear. Please know you and yours are in our thought and prayers. God be with you all.


The Howard George Family

September 2, 2021 at 7:15 pm

Our family is so sorry about your loss. Melanie was such a great teacher and person.


Carmelita Beeching

September 2, 2021 at 7:20 pm

Melanie dedicated her life to teaching and made a difference in the lives of countless students and families. I personally loved Mel’s optimism and light hearted spirit. Mel made school fun and I will never forget her smile! Love to her wonderful family and prayers go out to you! Fly high Maloney – you are loved


Sharon Crotser-Toy

September 2, 2021 at 7:59 pm

I am so sorry to learn of her passing. Melanie was a wonderful teacher and an important part of our community. My thoughts and prayers are with you all!


Bernie Christopher

September 2, 2021 at 8:03 pm

So sorry to hear the heartbreaking news about Melanie. When I heard the news today my heart was sad. We have lost a beautiful soul. May peace be with you soon!


Joyce McClellan

September 2, 2021 at 8:19 pm

Thinking of all in prayer at this difficult time. May you feel GOD’S comfort and love cherishing your precious memories.

Joyce & Dan McClellan


Neil & Sue Browne

September 2, 2021 at 8:38 pm

Irv and Elaine, we offer our sincere sympathy over the loss of your daughter. May God walk with you, guide, protect, and comfort you.

Coach and Sue Browne


Lori Steele

September 2, 2021 at 9:10 pm

Sorry for your loss Irv, Elaine and family. My prays for everyone.

Lori Snyder-Steele


JoAnn Burchett

September 2, 2021 at 9:17 pm

Irv and Elaine , my heart goes out to you..may you find peace.


Todd Overhuel

September 2, 2021 at 9:21 pm

I am so sorry to hear about this.


Lisa Cairns

September 2, 2021 at 10:05 pm

We are So sorry to hear of Mrs Rice’s passing. She was a wonderful teacher. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.

The Cairns Family


Wendy L Murney

September 2, 2021 at 10:36 pm

Our hearts are sad as we say goodbye to such a wonderful friend and teaching partner. We did have a lot of fun and made great memories together. The building was never the same after you left. You always had a smile on your face, even on the days that I know you were not feeling your best. You have touched so many lives, both young and old. We will remember you always. Love, Wendy


Buffy Welch

September 3, 2021 at 12:27 am

From elementary school through high school & well beyond Mel was always the optimist. She was a classmate, a teammate, and friend.

Fly high Melly


jerry haight

September 3, 2021 at 6:38 am

linda and I are are so sorry for your loss


Len & Teri Strefling

September 3, 2021 at 8:49 am

We are deeply sorry for your loss and sending our prayers. Melanie was a beautiful person, She will be missed by not only her family, but by her friends and students.



September 3, 2021 at 9:56 am

I am so sorry for your loss may God wrap his arms around all of you and give you his comfort my heart is with you all



September 3, 2021 at 10:01 am

So very sorry for your loss. You are in our thoughts and prayers.


Deana Hostetler

September 3, 2021 at 12:02 pm

I am so saddened to hear of Mel’s passing. My prayers go out to Todd, kids and Mel’s family. I saw Mel’s folks a while back and had a nice visit. I am sending prayers for comfort and peace. She was an amazing person and well loved. Much love to you and kids Todd.


Lisa Peet

September 3, 2021 at 12:56 pm

We need to take this time & think about all the kids that Mel touch during her years of teaching. We have to remember the wonderful times that we all had with her & her family. I am sure that her father-in-law is going to take wonderful care of her until it is our time to be with her.

Sorry that there is nothing that we can say or do to comfort you at this time of your lose. Just know that there are many that are here to help you during this time when you are ready.


Debbie Anderson

September 3, 2021 at 1:29 pm

My heart goes out to Mel’s entire family. May God comfort all of you and give you peace knowing she is out of pain.


Ken Baker

September 3, 2021 at 2:39 pm

So sorry to hear about your lost.


Loise Perkins

September 3, 2021 at 3:01 pm

I am so saddened by Melanie’s passing. What a bright light she was to all around her. Her happy attitude was so contagious. She was special. Hugs to all of her family.


Cindi Keith Hammond

September 3, 2021 at 5:26 pm

So sorry for your loss. You are in my prayers.


Mary Brennan

September 3, 2021 at 5:34 pm

Mellie’s smile and warm heart will be missed by all. My prayers go out to the Rice Family and the Figel Family. ❤️


Tony Shumaker

September 3, 2021 at 7:13 pm

Lifting your family in prayer.


Patti Rittenhouse

September 3, 2021 at 8:33 pm

My heart goes out to Melly’s family! Mel was such a wonderful friend and coworker. Much love and hugs to Todd, Quin and Tessa, as well as the rest of the family!


Mrs. Jim Hewitt. (Patti Khodl)

September 5, 2021 at 11:21 am

Saddened to learn of your loss. Don’t believe I have ever met Melanie, but I have worked with Phyllis Rice at Pipp Hospital and know Elaine & Irv thru my husband Jim. Fighting cancer is an awesome challenge not only for the person who has it, but the entire family. Hugs go out to you all. Be kind and gentle with yourselves as you navigate this grief path. Sincerely.


Kathleen Parker

September 3, 2021 at 10:05 pm

Dear Elaine and Irv,

We are so very sorry to learn of Melanie’s death. Our love and thoughts to you and all your family.

Our deepest sympathy,

Kathy and Steve Parker


Kim & Emil Holka Sam & Mamie Kline

September 3, 2021 at 11:51 pm

We cherished the time Mel and Todd visited Russell Island! We especially loved Mel’s sweet disposition and reminders for Todd. Melanie would say“Todd do you have your wallet, keys, etc. “ She had a checklist to keep Todd organized! Oh how she loved talking about Quinn and visiting him at Rochester College! She was so excited for Tessa to start college. We are blessed to have had her in our lives!

Love to the family.

Kim and Emil Holka

Sam and Mamie Kline


Anna Patton

September 4, 2021 at 12:36 am

Absolutely, positively loved this girl. I will always remember her positive attitude and giant smile. My heart is broken. Thoughts and prayers to her family and friends.


Lauri Rantz Stone

September 4, 2021 at 8:54 am

To All….

I am so sorry for your loss, my heart breaks for your families….

Sending hugs and prayers for peace and comfort at this most difficult time♥️


Joyce Roe Visser

September 4, 2021 at 9:30 am

I’m so sorry for your loss. Many prayers and many Hug’s.


Steve Swope

September 4, 2021 at 10:17 am

To Todd, and the Rice and Figel families. We’re so sorry for your great loss. We are praying for you.


Sheila Hileski Weyrick

September 4, 2021 at 12:29 pm

I am so sorry for your loss. Todd and family and the Figel family I am saying prayers of comfort for you in this time and the years ahead.


Kelly Dines Bohl

September 4, 2021 at 4:47 pm

I cheered with Melanie during high school. She was always smiling, positive and KIND. I am so very sorry for all of you. RIP Melanie.


Georgia and Roger Newman

September 4, 2021 at 6:32 pm

Roger and I just don’t want to accept this sad news. Our love goes out to the Figel, Potter and Rice families. All of you had the extreme blessing of being the most important people in this wonderful woman’s life. Melanie had an extraordinary amount of kindness and love for all who came face to face with her smiling face. Her smiling eyes. Besides knowing her lovely core family forever, Melanie as a high school student clerked for us in our former department store downtown. Just her presence elevated the mood of everyone there. She approached each customer as I’m sure she did each of her lucky students and colleagues with such a sense of respect. Melanie was all of that plus sincerely humble. Some comfort for all of us, at least it is for me, might be in closing our eyes and seeing Melanie smiling back at us.


Nathan Burtch

September 4, 2021 at 6:36 pm

I am deeply saddened to hear of Mel’s passing. Please know that all of you are in my thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time.

I have known the entire Figel family most of my life. I’ve also known Todd and Steve for that long as well. Julie, Mel, and Todd all were babysitters of mine for a while. Then years later, I had the pleasure of having Irv as a teacher.

May God grant you the courage to traverse through the days and weeks ahead, peace to know that you loved her and that she loved you while you fought this illness as a family, and most importantly smiles as you remember the memories you shared together.


Kathi Fuss

September 4, 2021 at 7:45 pm

Sending hugs, prayers and love to all in this wonderful family. May God bless you and give you comfort during this hard time in your lives❤️❤️❤️


The Maury Family

September 5, 2021 at 7:32 am

We are so sorry fir your loss. Our thoughts &!prayers are with you all. May God bring comfort & peace to your family.


Roy Secor

September 5, 2021 at 10:31 am

I am so sorry for your loss. She was a terrific person and added so much good to the world. She will be missed.


Terri Hogue-Long

September 5, 2021 at 4:20 pm

I was saddened to hear of Mel today, she was truly a blessing to all who knew her. Throughout high school days she was always smiling and positive. Always had good things to say about everyone. I will miss catching up with her as we started to do online. To all of her family I will keep you in prayer and I’m truly sorry for your loss she was a wonderful woman to all who knew her


Lorna sisson

September 6, 2021 at 10:36 am

Dear Irv , Elaine and your entire family.

What a blessing Melanie was to all who knew her. Always a smile and joyful presence about her. She was a delight to be around whenever we had that opportunity. We are so saddened by your unbearable loss. Please know you are on our hearts, thoughts and in our prayers. Melanies sweet smile will remain in our memories. May God fill you with wonderful memories at this difficult time. Love, Craig and Lorna


Mike Swope

September 6, 2021 at 5:15 pm

Todd, Irv, Elaine and families, I am so saddened to hear of Melanie’s passing. May beautiful memories lift you up in this difficult time.


sharon gleeson

September 7, 2021 at 3:26 pm

Dear Irv and Elaine and family ,

Our hearts break for you . We send our deepest condolences to you in this time of grieving.

We pray you find comfort in each other,

Jim and Sharon Gleeson


Sam & Aimee Kline

September 7, 2021 at 8:43 pm

Sending our love, prayers and condolences ❤ to you, Todd, the family and Mel’s family. We love you all. May Mel send you all blessings from Heaven. Heaven glows brighter today as Mel has entered God’s Kingdom.


John & Maria Shelton

September 8, 2021 at 12:07 am

Melanie was a cheerleader for our basketball team my junior year which was her senior year. She always carried a big smile and seemed to care so much for those around her. The following year, her brother, Matt, joined the basketball team where he brought the same happy spirit. Great family all around, and one I never knew too well. Losing a family member is so difficult and I pray for all who helped and supported Melanie during her battle with cancer. Godspeed, Melanie.


Salinas Family

September 9, 2021 at 12:17 am

Please accept our condolences- The Salinas Family


Karin Marsh Fitzpatrick

September 9, 2021 at 9:52 am

I want to express my sympathy to Melanie’s family and to say how sorry I am for this devastating loss. It was a pleasure to share some truly great times in high school with Melanie as we cheered together and had a lot of fun. I remember her always having a smile and a happiness about her. May happy memories help you through this difficult time.


Cathy and Brent Maurer

September 9, 2021 at 4:30 pm

We are so very sorry for the loss of your daughter, Melanie. Life is challenging enough, but the pain of losing a child, no matter the age, is one that can never heal. Our prayers for you are strength to get through this difficult and heartbreaking time; courage to find a way to navigate a life that does not include Melanie here on Earth; and wisdom to accept love and support from those around you. May you always hold memories close to your heart…that’s where you’ll now find Melanie.


Jen Garvey

September 10, 2021 at 5:12 pm

Todd, we are so sorry to hear of Melanie’s death. We have had her on our prayer list for a long time. We will continue to pray for you and your family.

Mike and Jen Garvey


Wayne, Jan, Robin, Ryan and Renee Laws

September 10, 2021 at 9:10 pm

Our family is saddened by your loss and ours prayers are with you Todd, Kids Parents and Phyllis.. Remember there are a lot of Prayers for all of you. Try to remember all the good times and we know there are many. Thinking of you with Love


Marilyn Noble Lamborn

September 15, 2021 at 9:14 pm

To the Figel and Rice Family: Our prayers and thoughts are with you all at the loss of Melanie. Cherish all your wonderfull memories you were blessed to have with her. She is at peace!!

The Lamborn Family (Marilyn, Brett, Brooks and Bruce).


Leave a Condolence

Cancel reply

Please share your message of condolence with the family, It will be visible to the public but your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked









Obituary Notification Service

Enter your email address if you would like to be notified when a new obituary notice is posted:

Search Obituaries

How do I send a condolence

At the bottom of this page, you will find a condolence form. You will need to fill out some basic information prior to typing your message. (We will not share your e-mail address with anyone) Once you are finished, simply click the submit condolence button. The condolence will be approved before it is published to the web site.

Share This Obituary

Your Name


Your Email


Their Name


Their Email





This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



Visits: 1

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors