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MISSOULA — Margaret Rice, a resident of Missoula for over 70 years, died here on Nov. 6. She was born in Bellingham, Washington, to Hugh and Margaret Perkins Magone on July 5, 1920, joining a family of four brothers. Four more brothers followed. Needless to say she was a much-loved daughter and sister.

The family moved around the northwest for a number of years and then settled on a small farm on Trout Creek near Superior. Margaret was a high school basketball player and graduated as her class salutatorian. Soon after graduation she married her handsome CCC man James Loyall who was from Hodginville, Kentucky.

The young couple moved to the huge city of Los Angeles where their daughter Marjorie was born. James was killed in a tragic railroad accident only two years later and Margaret returned to Superior. During World War II she was first the clerk of the ration board and as a business woman before her time, purchased and operated the local Red and White Store with a good friend. In 1946 she married Lyle Heath who was from Elk River, Minnesota. The couple then moved to Missoula.

Margaret and Lyle’s son Martin was born in 1948. For years she was a busy wife and mother finding time to be a Y teen leader and to help Lyle with Scouts and Kiwanis. Her home was always open to family members on their way from Superior to Deer Lodge and to travelers from Minnesota. In 1959 the Heaths joined the Northeys and founded Montana Transfer Company. At that time Margaret went to work full time at Sears to be sure there was steady income while the new business go started. She retired as Sears credit manager.

After retirement the Heaths enjoyed long driving vacations and staying active in the Missoula community. Lyle died in 1989 and five years later Margaret married Dan Rice, a longtime friend and another member of the Rattlesnake community. Margaret and Dan enjoyed five years of traveling with Dan’s extended family and time at Flathead Lake.  

After selling her home near Greenough Park, Margaret spent happy years in her condo at the Lynwood and for the last three years has been content to be a resident of Bee Hive Homes.

Family was always important to Margaret and she loved telling about her Magone brothers: Lawrence, Freddie, Hughie, Sunny Jim, Joe, Raymond, Lee and Danny. They had loved teasing her and she never tired of telling the stories. Joe, Lee (wife Grace) and Danny survive her.

She is survived by her daughter Marjorie Loyall Jacobs and her son Marin Lyle Heath (wife Jackie). Her four grandchildren are Brenda Jacobs, Ann Jacobs Jones, Scott Heath and Patrick Heath. She was especially proud to have four great-grandchildren: Theo, Jesse, Sonnet and River. Many devoted nephews and nieces have been an important part of her life.

It was Margaret’s decision to not have a memorial service. She often said, “You know, I’ve outlived almost everyone”. Think of her the next time you’re enjoying your garden, picking a huckleberry, reading a good book or taking a drive around Montana.

the life of: Margaret Heath Rice
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