The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

Rice, Hal

Written by David Green.

Hal Duane Rice, 84, was born on Jan. 15, 1923, the only child of Elmer "Red" and Nola (Figy) Rice in Fulton County, Ohio. He died Tuesday, March 27, at Grand Court in Adrian, Mich. He was surrounded not only by the love of his family but also the love and support of the staff at Grand Court and Hospice of Lenawee.

Hal graduated from Chesterfield High School as class president and in 2006 was instrumental in the planning of their 65th class reunion, which, unfortunately he was unable to attend due to the onset of his illness.

He was very active in the Grange and was one of the youngest Masters to be elected, at age 18, and held the office of Master of the Morenci Grange for a total of 30 years.

He lived in the Morenci area most of his life and his chosen vocation was that of dairy farmer, a career in which he excelled and enjoyed for many years. The value of the family farm was important to him and to his family.

Before he retired, he also drove a bus for Morenci Area School and delivered fuel oil for Lindeman Oil Company.

Regardless of his vocation, the most important things in Hal's life were his family and friends. At least once a week he maintained a relationship with dear friends from high school, and whether it was golfing, playing cards or just visiting, he enjoyed the laughter and the friendship. He would never walk away from a good game of cards and especially loved to win.

On Feb. 18, 1945, Hal married Alice Staelens. She preceded him in death on May 12, 1977. On Sept. 26, 1981, he married June (Phillips) Walton and she survives. He was also preceded in death by his parents, a granddaughter, Shannon Rice, and a step-daughter, Ruth (Walton) Sturt.

Hal is survived by a son, Jimmie (and Kathy) Rice of Tecumseh; a daughter, Bonnie (and Sonny) Snyder of Adrian; two step-sons, Robert Walton and his friend, Diana McGovern of Morenci and George (and Judy) Walton of Adrian. He is also survived by grandchildren Jeremy Rice, Melanie (and Zach) Crawford, Kevin (and Barbara) Walton, Barry Walton, Marissa (and Aaron) Baus, Kim Sturt and her fiancée, Dustin White, Holly (and Michael) Wood, Troy Snyder, Jill (and Bill) Kelley, and Megan Snyder. Hal had 10 great-grandchildren and many treasured friends.

Graveside services for Hal are scheduled at 11 a.m. Friday, March 30, at Oak Grove Cemetery in Morenci with the Rev. Dorothy Okray officiating. Visitation is planned from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Eagle Funeral Home - Charles Fink Chapel in Morenci.

In lieu of flowers, those planning an expression of sympathy may make memorial contributions to Hospice of Lenawee County.

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