After election posters for Romaine Chapin Rice Sr were discovered in a resident’s attic (see part 1), the Historical Commission began researching Mr. Rice to find the story behind the posters. What we found was a power couple who made a huge impact in our community.
In part 2 of this 3-part series, we’ll introduce you to Romaine and his family.
Born in 1903 to Alton G. & Mabel (Eby) Rice, Romaine Chapin Rice, Sr. was the oldest of 3 children. All raised in Detroit, Romaine’s father had various jobs, according to census records, including a commercial traveler and hardware merchant & supervisor.
(Left) Romaine; (Center) L->R: Siblings John, Romaine, & Alton T., circa 1915; (Right) Romaine, circa 1916
Romaine Chapin Rice, Sr. and Dawn Banta married on September 14, 1940. Second marriages for both, they had actually dated prior to their 1st marriages. After they both were divorced, they ran into each other in Detroit. (In my uber-romantic mind, they picked up right where they left off!).
Before joining the Air Force, Romaine completed Law School at Wayne State University. At the end of his military career he was a Lt. Col., having served 4 years active duty from 1942-1946, and 7 years as a reserve from 1946-1953.
After the war, the Rice’s moved from Detroit to Redford because “we liked open spaces”, according to Mrs. Rice. Hard to imagine Redford being spacious, but when they moved to the Township in 1947, the building boom had not yet begun. Romaine and Dawn had three children together (Ron, Caralyn, & Madeline), and Romaine had a son (Romaine Chapin Rice Jr., also known as “Bob”) from his 1st marriage.
Romaine served as a Justice of the Peace for Redford Twp from 1952-55. After serving 2 terms, he bought a law practice in Sault Ste Marie, MI in 1956. During this time he also purchased 12 vacant lots in Paradise, MI. The Rice’s had a log cabin built on the land, using timbers from the property. They named the cabin “Paradise Found”. The family planned to build a motel on the remaining lots and retire at the cabin. Even though the cabin was sold after Romaine’s passing, members of the Rice family connected with the owners in later years and even vacationed there on occasion.
To say that Romaine was a busy guy would be an understatement. Check out these 2 ads from the 1952-53 Township Directory:
Romaine was also very active in the community, including:
- Boy Scout Troop leader
- Post Commander – American Legion Post 271
- Member – Lola Valley Lodge 583
- Member – Rotary Club
Stay tuned for part 3 – we’ll introduce you to Mrs. Rice and you’ll see why she was featured in a 1967 newspaper article titled Women on the Go!.