Murel Rice will turn 100

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Murel Rice will celebrate 100th birthday Oct. 4.

Murel Rice, longtime Manila resident and World War II veteran, will turn 100 years old on Oct. 4. He is the oldest of six children born to Ben and Ida Bell Rice. He has lived from the wagon days to the modern times of today and has seen many changes. He said some of those changes are good and some not so good.

Rice was born just down the road from where he lives today with his brother, J.B. (who is 86), and J.B.'s daughters, Pam and Charlotte. Members of the Rice family have lived in the same area for over 100 years. At one time all of the brothers and their families lived along County Road 378. Their brother Ancel, along with two sisters, Loraine Hutton and Harriett Schultz, are deceased. They have a sister, Edie Nau, living in Michigan.

Murel said everyone worked hard during his growing up years. He plowed behind a mule when he was about eight years old. He attended school at Daugherty when he wasn't working in the fields.

On Oct. 7, 1933, Murel and Linnie Miflin married and they were blessed with 78 years of marriage before she passed away several years ago. They worked on the farm together and later moved their home to Manila where they continued to work together at the Manila Nursing Home.

The nursing home was owned by his cousin, Letha Veach. Murel and Linnie cooked and served breakfast every morning for nine years, and after breakfast he worked where needed and farmed during his off work hours. Linnie left the nursing home and went to work at Shaneyfelt's Clinic. He continued to work at the nursing home for 39 years, doing everything from maintenance work to shaving and cutting hair for the male residents.

Electricity came through the country in the 1940s.

"Our house was off the line and we could not get electricity to our house," Murel recalled. "Our house burned and when we rebuilt it, we moved it across the ditch so we could have electricity."

He said electricity did change things in people's homes. He remembers when the family would run out of kerosene they would burn old grease with a wick to have light.

Murel said his first car was a 1923 Model T; he had an A Model when he married in 1933 and the last car he purchased was a 2004 red pick-up which he still has today.

Woodrow Wilson was the United States president when Murel was born and he has seen 17 presidents elected during his lifetime.

Murel left Manila only to serve two years in the military. His other 98 years have been spent in Manila with family and friends.

He said he has no secrets to living 100 years.

"I guess hard work is good for a person," he said.

He plans to celebrate his 100th birthday at home with family.

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