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Marilyn Rice

Image by Nick Andréka


December 26, 1942 – June 1, 2024

It is with profound heartbreak we announce that on June 1, 2024 our precious Mother, Grandma, and Great Grandma, Marilyn Rice, passed away at the Grace Hospital.

Marilyn Margaret Grace McLellan was born in Perdue SK on December 26, 1942 to Lorne and Mary McLellan. She was the youngest and had 4 big brothers: Don, David, Lloyd, and Larry, who she adored. A fifth brother, wee Jack, passed away before she was born.  

Marilyn grew up in Perdue where she had an enviable upbringing with a Mom who taught and encouraged her in various creative arts in which she would thrive, and a father who included her in his activities. The rambunctious McLellan brothers guided her with useful lessons such as ‘Hey Marilyn, put this in that socket’ and this sound advice ‘Step on the gas hard and let the clutch out fast’. Grandpa Lorne would entertain us with the story of when she was around 4 and had accompanied him to work one time. She was bored so decided to see how many grasshoppers she could fit in her drawstring blouse. When they got back home she unleashed them. The curtains and plants didn’t fare well, but the story lasted forever.  Grandma Mary was an expert seamstress, and as a teenager Mom would draw a picture of an outfit she would like, and Grandma would sew it up. A creative partnership that endured throughout their lives and was passed on to the next generations. 

Marilyn married Keith Rice of Asquith, SK in 1960. Keith was a member of the RCAF and they were transferred to numerous bases throughout the years with a child arriving while at each of the first three: Saskatoon, Rivers and Portage La Prairie. 1967 saw them off to Germany to live on the 4 Wing Air Force Base/Baden Baden. Free time was spent visiting other countries, going to The Schwan Hotel restaurant in Hugelsheim for schnitzel and many picnics on the river banks in Strasbourg. While in Germany, Marilyn was introduced to the Autobahn and thus began a lifetime love of driving fast.

The transfer to Winnipeg came in 1970 where they lived on the 'everything a kid could want' air force base. With the kids all in school Marilyn fulfilled her goal of becoming a nurse. Graduating from the Misericordia School of Nursing with her RN, and also the Valedictorian of her class! She worked at Oakview Place, Misericordia Emergency Dept. and Portage La Prairie hospitals. She was involved with MONA (pre MNU) and a proud member of the founding group of the National Federation of Nurses in 1981. She made many long-lasting friendships over the years, enjoying parties and outings, and especially enjoyed hosting, treating everyone to her exceptional cooking and allot of fun. 


In addition to her career, her artistic side and dedication to her family never wavered. She would paint beautiful scenes on windows for special occasions, and bake amazing birthday cakes with coins hidden within. Mom loved to cook special meals and made the best Caesar salad, chicken Kiev, coq au vin, and gourmet desserts. Her most loved family meal was all you can eat schnitzel, spaetzle and salad.  Fondues were a standard Christmas Eve feature. Summer vacations would see the car loaded for the night trip to Saskatchewan to spend time with both sides of the family. One child would sleep on the bench seat, one on the floor and one on the 'shelf' at the rear window! A core memory was being woken up to see the lights of Perdue!  


In 1980 she set out on her own with an apartment in Osborne Village and her first vehicle, a brand new blue Camaro. Three grandchildren joined the family and Grandma would be ‘the best Grandma a kid could ask for’. Over the years taking many trips to visit those in Saskatchewan, and special visits in Winnipeg. In Winnipeg if there were icicles to be knocked down, or a fun park to play in Grandma would stop the car. Garage sales were a fave weekend outing with Greg, Shelley and Marlon. Otherwise known as GS-ing, with a laughing race to find the best stuff. Greg’s cats, Chipper and The Kooks were also a big part of the ‘Rice’s in Wpg.’. A bucket list event was had when she took her Mom on a trip driving coast to coast. They would return with grand memories and pails of rocks and bags of pinecones Grandma Mary had collected everywhere they stopped.   

After suffering a lifting injury at work she was unable to continue her nursing career. She would move to a place at the lake where she enjoyed her flower gardens, raspberries, and visits with the local wildlife. It seemed every animal and bird loved to visit her. A fox who would trot down the drive every morning would eventually choose a spot under her deck to pass away. Bears in the apple tree, sometimes getting way too close to her! And last but not least, Grundy the groundhog, whom Mom would feed bananas and cabbage by hand.  

Returning to live in Winnipeg for good, her family was glad they could take care of her, and not worry about the bears.   

Marilyn suffered from heart disease since she was in her 50s and would have a double bypass and numerous stents over the years.  Born with a hole in her heart, she would say 'my heart's always been bad'. She had previously been admitted to hospital for 4 months in 2020 with multiple organ failure. She was not expected to survive. Even after catching Covid 19 while there, Marilyn beat the odds.  She spent her last years surrounded with love and spoiled with lots of nighties, books and frivolous girly gifts. Her heart failure progressed and she was recently admitted to Grace Hospital. With her fighting spirit we didn't believe it was her time until after it was.  

Marilyn was the most caring person - she would do anything for anybody, family and strangers. While nursing, she would advocate for the best care for those who were marginalized. If she saw someone on the street that looked like they needed help she would help them, often coming to know them by name because she would help them often.

Marilyn was predeceased by her parents, Lorne and Mary McLellan; her former husband Keith Rice; brothers, Don, Lloyd, David, and Jack McLellan; sister-in-laws, Shirley (Larry) and June (Don); and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Marilyn is survived by her children, Greg Rice, Dawn Graham (Brian) and Shelley Rice; her grandchildren, Jennifer Johner, Ty Graham (Hana), and Marlon Rice; and her great-grandchildren, Laine Johner and Harley Johner. Her brother Larry McLellan also survives; as well as many wonderful nieces and nephews, in-laws and friends. 


Cremation has taken place.  

We would love to hear from anyone who knew Marilyn, please share a story or tell us what she meant to you. If you’d like to make a donation to any animal rescue/shelter in her name, that would be wonderful!


Cremation & Life Celebrations

530 St. Mary Avenue - Winnipeg

204-421-5501 -

Memories, Stories and Condolences


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Ruth wintemute

June 25, 2024 at 3:13 PM

I had the pleasure to work with Marilyn for a number of years in Emergency at "The Miz " . She was always full of life , laughter and great advice . We drove to work together as we lived close by . In fact her daughter Shelly used to Baby sit for us . Marilyn did things that most of us only thought to do ... she would take off for a trip , invite a bunch over for dinner on the spur of the moment or just say how about dropping in to catch up .

I feel remorse for losing track of her in these past years as she was a friend worth keeping close . God Bless Marilyn


Shirley Codd

June 23, 2024 at 12:42 PM

I was Marilyn's neighbour on Hollingsworth in St. James & have lots of memories of her family. So sorry to hear of her passing. My deepest sympathy to Greg, Dawn & Shelley.

Debbie Smith

June 23, 2024 at 4:39 AM

I worked with Marilyn in Portage. She was such a wonderful person. My favourite story about her was the winter night both she and the hospital receptionist got locked out . It was a comedy. Of errors and made a good story for years ! I was to her apartment on Osborne . I never forgot how beautiful it was. Her creative spirit was very present. .The beautiful watercolours. The lovely character of the building. The hospitality was a whole other level. .Every time I saw that apartment,I thought of Marilyn and wondered where she was. Now I know where she is. Rest in Peace. Thanks for inspiring me to be a better nurse and to always remember " the patient comes first "

Andrea Schroeder

June 22, 2024 at 4:10 PM

My condolences to the family. She was such a special person and I consider myself lucky to have Marilyn in my life when I was young, She took us on amazing adventures and enthusiastically supported every creative idea I had.

Leona Schroeder

June 22, 2024 at 3:37 PM

I can't imagine having had a friend who was more fun. Although we both worked at Misericordia, it was a serendipitous meeting at a wall paper sale that ignited a friendship. She was filled with endless ideas, creativity and compassion. So much to remember, like the huge Christmas tree that she left up all year and kept adding decorations. We had a momentous family vacation with her at Hilton head S.C. The video is a lovely tribute to her. Most sincere condolences to Greg, Dawn, Shelly and all family members.

Bill C.

June 22, 2024 at 3:11 PM

My sincere condolences to the family.

Marcel Soulodre

June 22, 2024 at 2:53 PM

My sincere sympathy to you all on the loss of Marilyn.

She was indeed a truly special person. I always enjoyed her company. I now live in Strasbourg and I know the Schwan Hotel in Hugelsheim and I will go there and order schnitzel in honour of Marilyn and her family. Take care.

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