Naomi Gertrude Keeton Rice, the 5th child of John Riley Richard and Martha Elvira (Moore) Keeton, was born August 6, 1916, in Cherokee County near Peggs, Oklahoma.
In 1925, when Naomi was 9 years of age, her father died from typhoid fever and her mother was left to care for the seven children. Naomi attended the 2-room Clear Creek school through 8th grade and started high school at Tahlequah , Oklahoma. She was not able to complete school there because in March 1938, while helping her mother feed the cows, she climbed to the hayloft, stepped off the end of a bale of hay and fell to the ground. She suffered a broken back and was in a body cast for 6 months. In the fall of 1938, Naomi went to work as a telephone switchboard operator in Locust Grove, Oklahoma, and graduated from Locust Grove High School in 1939.
About this time, Naomi met Audie Elton Rice at the Peggs Free Will Baptist Church. They married February 24, 1940. Audie and Naomi continued farming at Peggs until November 1947, when they moved to Guymon. During this time, 3 daughters, Glenna Lou, Joan Marquietta, and Sharon Rose were born. A son, Dwight Elton, was born in 1950 in Guymon.
At the age of 13, Naomi made the most important decision of her life when she attended a revival meeting at Peggs and trusted Jesus as her Savior. In 1955, Audie and Naomi and their 4 children helped start the Free Will Baptist Church in Guymon and became charter members.
Audie died in September, 1988. Naomi continued to live at home until her death at the age of 96 years, 5months, 5 days. She passed away at Odyssey Hospice in Amarillo, Texas, on January 11, 2013. She was involved in her church work, her families’ lives, and volunteer work in the community.
Naomi was preceded in death by her parents, her husband of 47½ years, 3 half sisters, one half brother, 3 brothers, 4 sisters, her Keeton and Rice brothers and sisters-in law, and one great-granddaughter, Bailey Seymour.
Naomi is survived by 4 children: Glenna (Glenn) Packard, Las Cruces, New Mexico; Joan (Jerel) Brooks, Guymon; Sharon (Joe) Watson, Guymon; and Dwight (Karen) Rice, Stinnett, Texas. Naomi is also survived by 9 grandchildren: Julanne (Dean) Dahlquist; Derek (Virginia) Packard; Jana (Dan) Blocker; Brent (Laurie) Brooks; Susan (Rodney) Seymour; Scott (Melissa) Watson; Shelly (Brent) Heatley; Dwight L. (Andreia) Rice; and Travis (Terri) Rice.
Twenty great-grandchildren also survive her: Joseph and Naomi Packard; Eryn Brooks, Josh (Molly) Brooks, Kelsey Blocker; Kaylea (Breck) Burkhart, Karlea Brooks, Jillian Brooks (Taylor Anderson, fiancée), Clay Brooks; Brennan (Preston) Amerin, Brody Seymour; Hannah, Jacob, and Nathan Watson; Brady, Jayce, and Lyndee Heatley; Natalee Rice; Audie Elizabeth and Rowdy Rice; and one great, great-grandchild, Eli Amerin. Naomi is also survived by one sister-in-law, Floy Rice Palmer, and numerous Keeton and Rice nieces and nephews and many other relatives and friends.
The Rice family will receive friends for visitation Monday evening, 7:00-9:00 PM at the Henson-Novak Funeral Home, 501 NW Fifth, Guymon.
Memorial services will be held Tuesday, January 15, at 11am at the Northridge Free Will Baptist Church with Rev. Stacy Ross, pastor, officiating. Interment will be in Elmhurst Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial may be made to Northridge Christian School, Loaves and Fishes, or the Hope Crisis Pregnancy Center. c/o Henson-Novak Funeral Directors, P.O. Box 1306, Guymon, OK 73942. www.hensonnovak.com