Cover photo for Peggy J. Rice's Obituary
Peggy J. Rice Profile Photo
1947 Peggy 2024

Peggy J. Rice

October 14, 1947 — April 19, 2024


Funeral service for Peggy Rice will be live steamed at the following link starting at 2:00 p.m

Peggy Jean Rice was born October 14, 1947, in Ponca City, Oklahoma, to Elmer C. Townley and Elsie R. Anderson Townley. She transitioned to her heavenly home on April 19th, 2024, in Claremore, Oklahoma, surrounded by her loved ones. Peggy was a remarkable individual whose life was defined by a commitment to her family, faith, service, and community engagement. 

Peggy married Larry D. Rice on September 12, 1996, in Seattle, Washington.  This union made Peggy a bonus mother to Autumn Lea Rice and Nathan Todd Rice.

Peggy’s journey began with a strong foundation laid by her hardworking parents, Elmer and Elsie Townley, on a rural farm in Osage County. Their influence instilled in her a work ethic and a passion for serving others that would shape her entire life. As a child, Peggy eagerly absorbed the teachings of the Bible. As she transitioned into adulthood, her commitment to her faith only deepened. After graduating from Burbank High School in 1965, Peggy attended Ponca City Business College in 1966 and Oklahoma State University from 1969 to 1972. 

Throughout her career, Peggy demonstrated exceptional dedication and leadership in various roles, from her early days as a waitress, to secretary for the vice president of Continental Oil Company in Ponca City. Her journey continued at OSU, where she served as the Assistant to the Director of the OSU Research Foundation. Her contributions extended beyond the corporate world and into entrepreneurship as the co-owner of The Garden Gate Landscape Nursery. Her career reached new heights when she became the Sr. Vice President of Commercial Lending at BancFirst in Stillwater. 

 Peggy actively engaged in public service, serving on numerous boards and committees to improve the quality of life in her communities. These included the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce, United Way, YMCA, and Stillwater Education Foundation boards of directors. 

The Eskimo Joe’s Juke Joint Jog is another testament to Peggy’s commitment to community service. Peggy was instrumental along with her friend Stan Clark in establishing this annual event, celebrating 36 years, not only raising funds for United Way but also cultivating fellowship and unity within the community. In 1977, Peggy representing the Stillwater Chamber, presented Stan Clark’s Eskimo Joe’s first dollar profit. 

Peggy’s career took a turn in 1988 when she relocated to Tulsa to serve as the Tulsa Chamber’s Director of Small Business Development and Finance. This move was facilitated by Leo Presley, who recommended her to Mickey Thompson, the Vice President for Economic Development at The Tulsa Chamber of Commerce, based on their close friendship with Leo and his wife Susie. In addition to her role at the Chamber of Commerce, Peggy became involved with many organizations, including securing positions on the Oklahoma Private Enterprise Forum, the Tulsa World Trade Association Master Business Advisory Committee, and the Tulsa Junior College Boards of Directors. Peggy also served as the executive director of the Tulsa Industrial Authority.
During this time, Peggy’s dedication to supporting small businesses in Tulsa laid the groundwork for her continued impact on the community. She quickly immersed herself in the Tulsa Community, engaging in meaningful initiatives such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, demonstrating her passion for making a positive difference in the lives of young people. 

Peggy provided unmatched public service by serving on the Boards of Directors for Green Country Boys and Girls Club and the American Red Cross. She was actively involved in improving the quality of life in her communities, including serving on the Stillwater Public Schools Foundation and the Chouteau-Mazie Public School Foundation. She also proudly served on the RCB Board of Directors for several years. 

One of Peggy’s proudest accomplishments was co-founding and serving as President and CEO of the Small Business Capital Corporation with the late Mickey Thompson. Peggy managed a substantial loan portfolio that promoted job creation and economic growth, earning her national recognition as the Financial Advocate of the Year by President Bill Clinton in 1996. 

Beginning in 2008, Peggy became the First Lady of Rogers State University. Her influence extended beyond her professional accomplishments; she touched the lives of countless individuals through her mentorship, guidance, and unwavering support for students and faculty. The First Lady Peggy Rice Award In Business Excellence is an endowment scholarship annually recognizing the top graduating senior receiving a bachelor's degree in business administration. The recipient will receive a scholarship to pursue a master’s in business administration at RSU. The award honors Peggy's professional achievements in business and her contributions to the RSU community through her role as First Lady. 

Peggy traveled extensively worldwide with her best friends, James and Melinda Kemp; most appropriately, her last international trip was to Israel with Dr. Ray Crawford and many new friends. She traveled across Europe, Asia, Vietnam, Cuba, North America, and the Baltic Sea Countries. She also loved traveling across the United States with her husband, Larry, her children, grandchildren, neighbors, and long-time friends Bill and Alline Kemp. 

Peggy's legacy is tireless dedication and profound impact, from her humble beginnings on a farm in Osage County to her distinguished career and extensive involvement in various organizations. Her unwavering belief in God sustained her through moments of uncertainty and adversity, giving her the courage to persevere and the resilience to overcome. She will be remembered for her professional achievements, her kindness and generosity, and the profound difference she made in the lives of those she encountered. 

Peggy’s passing leaves a void in the hearts of her loved ones, colleagues, and the countless individuals whose lives she touched. However, we find peace knowing that when she entered heaven’s gates, her Savior said, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Her presence will be sorely missed, but her legacy will endure as a witness to the power of faith, service, leadership, and compassion. 

The family would like to extend their sincerest gratitude to the many people who encouraged Peggy through her most challenging times, particularly Lisa Martin, RN, Josie Suiter, Gala Bilby, Sophia Suiter, Riley Suiter, and Linda Nichols, who were present throughout Peggy’s many health-related battles. We would also like to thank the Hospice and Healthcare providers: aides Donna, Allie, Diane, and Jazzie; nurses Jean, Shelby, Mela, Abby, Precious, and Michelle. Brandy and Alyssa with Brook Dale; OU Memory Care, Dr. Hinkle, Dr. Rylander, Beth Moore, Matt Gray, and Community Home Health Claremore. 

Her loving husband, Larry Rice, survives Peggy, as well as her bonus children, Autumn Lea Weaver (Jeremy) and Nathan Todd Rice (Amanda); her sister Melba McGhee; six grandchildren, Riley Suiter, Josie Suiter, Sophia Suiter, Addison Rice, Brooklyn Rice, and Phoebe Weaver; sister-in-law Margaret Townley; her brother-in-law Curtis Owens; sisters-in-law Carolyn Engles, Lois Messer (Larry); and many nieces and nephews. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, Elmer and Elsie Townley; sister Kathleen Chaney (Lowell); brothers Eldon Townley (Marsha), J.R. Townley (Dorris), and Eddie Townley; brothers-in-law Russel McGhee, Pat Engles, and Leon Rice (Jeanell); and sister-in-law Leona Owens. 
Celebration of Life services will be held at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, April 25, 2024, at the First Baptist Church in Claremore with interment at Hogan Cemetery near Locust Grove, Oklahoma. Visitation and a chocolate reception will be held from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 24, 2024, at the RSU Dr. Carolyn Taylor Center Ballroom in Claremore.

In lieu of flowers, Memorials can be made to the Rogers State University Foundation for the Peggy Rice Award in Business Excellence Scholarship. Memorials may be sent to the RSU Foundation at 1701 W. Will Rogers Blvd., Claremore, OK. 74017 or

Service will be live streamed at

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation and Chocolate Reception

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

5:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

First Baptist Church of Claremore

107 E Will Rogers Blvd, Claremore, OK 74017

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live stream

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

First Baptist Church of Claremore

107 E Will Rogers Blvd, Claremore, OK 74017

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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