Kenneth Earl Rice

Published 2:21 pm Tuesday, October 20, 2020

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In Memoriam
Kenneth Earl Rice
September 14, 1939 – October 14, 2020

Ken Rice, a Big Canoe pioneer and even larger known American football legend, died Wednesday, October 14, 2020 from complications of many health concerns in recent years while continuing to live at his home in Big Canoe. He was 81.

He was preceded in death by his wife Billie Ann Rice, who died June 7, 2014 after 50 years of marriage to Ken. His survivors are daughters, Kathleen Ingram (Bo), Annette Hall (Nelson); granddaughter, Emily Ryan (Roy) and great-grandson, Levi Ryan.

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A native of Bainbridge, Ga., Rice played offensive tackle at Auburn University from 1957 – 1960 where he was a two time All-American. He was listed on the Auburn University Team of the Century in 1988, the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2002. He went on to a professional career with the Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins. He was first round picks for both NFL (St. Louis Cardinals) and The AFL (Buffalo Bills). He also was later awarded the Walter Gilbert Award from Auburn University given to athletes who have distinguished themselves off the field as well. Each year at the A-Day Game Auburn University Athletics awards the Ken Rice Award to the Best Blocking Lineman from the previous season.

After pro football, Ken began his career in construction working for Cousins Properties in Atlanta. He had become a job supervisor for Cousins Properties before deciding to leave Cousins and form his own construction company, Kenneth E Rice Construction.

Ken and his family first came to Big Canoe in 1970 just after Cousins had bought the Big Canoe Property. Before development began on Big Canoe, Cousins would let his employees sign up to stay at Big Canoe in what would be known as the Canoe Lodge. They spent many a wonderful weekend in what was to become Big Canoe.

His contributions as a resident and builder of homes in Big Canoe began when Tom Cousins first opened the dirt roads of his development of Big Canoe and found a friend in Rice and his family. Tom Cousins and the Rice family both attended North Avenue Presbyterian Church and upon the retirement of Dr. Vernon S. Broyles from North Avenue, Cousins asked Dr. Broyles to start a church at Big Canoe. Ken Rice was asked by the Board of North Avenue to build a residence for Dr. Broyles as a gift. He gladly took on the job and never looked back. Retiring in recent years after over 32 years a building and completing over 200 homes in Big Canoe.

It is fitting that a service of remembrance be held for Rice on Billie Ann’s mountain at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, Eagle’s Rest Park on top of Mount Oglethorpe, adjacent to Big Canoe. Friends and Eagle’s Rest board members John Feight and Don Wells will speak.

Eagle’s Rest Park
7315 Monument Road
Jasper, GA 30143

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to:

College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) for the Billie Ann Rice Endowed Scholarship and mailed to:

COSAM Office of Development
ATTN: Sherri Rowton
315 Roosevelt Concourse
Auburn University, AL 36849


The Mt Oglethorpe Foundation
For Eagle’s Rest Park
25 Old Mill White Rd
Jasper, GA 30143