St. Augustine Murder Victim Honored by Flagler College | People

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St. Augustine Murder Victim Honored by Flagler College

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The man who was shot to death by his aunt was a 33-year employee at Flagler College who had worked his way to the top of his department.

John Rice was fatally shot by his 96-year-old aunt Sunday, police believe.  Neighbors said it was because she didn't want to be moved into a nursing home.

In a statement today, Flagler College President Dr. William T. Abare, Jr., said the following:

It is with deep regret that I inform the Flagler College community of the passing of John Rice, our Supervisor of Housekeeping. John had served the College with energy, diligence, and good humor for 33 years. He was a cheerful presence and a friend to all. He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with John's family at this sad time.

John had worked at Flagler College for more than 33 years, starting when he was hired in 1978 as a janitor. He was named senior custodian in 1986, head custodian a year later, and in 2007 became supervisor of Custodial and Housekeeping Services at Flagler in charge of a staff of 16 employees.

Flagler College held a vigil in Rice's honor today, attended by about 100 members of the staff, faculty and student body, according to Director of Public Information Brian Thompson.

Thompson also shared with us a message from Plant Superintendent Vic Cheney:

John Rice was everyone¹s friend.  He was strong in his faith and a solid believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  John always said that the struggles we have here on earth are temporary.  He had a calm and caring attitude for the people that surrounded him.  John always looked forward to graduation.  He would develop relationships with the college students and encourage them.   He would stand outside the gym and shake hands and hug all of the soon to be graduates with congratulations.

Encouragement is the ability to give another courage.  John was big on encouragement.  When we were bombarded with lots of setups and tight deadlines he would always gather up his troops and calm them down.  He always had a way to discourage any negative attitudes.  We loved him as a brother and he will be missed.

Rice was 57 years old and was a husband, father and grandfather, neighbors told us today.


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