Ed Rice '40: A tribute by Jim Knight '40
Friends and family buried Ed Rice on August 21 at the little
cemetery of St. Andrews, near Sag Harbor. Tom Flynn, our classmate,
drove out to Eastern Long Island from New York City for the burial;
he and I were pallbearers.
died in the early morning of August 18 at Southampton Hospital of
complications from pneumonia and from Parkinson's. I was with him
daily during the last week, along with my wife, Pamela; his
wonderful housekeeper, Dolly Jagdeo; and his good friend, Mary
Cummings, who had written at length
about him in the May 2001
issue of CCT.
and I were fast friends from the day we met in John Jay in 1938, 63
years ago. He was generous in his friendship, and loyal and
supportive. He was the best editor I ever had, at his magazine
Jubilee, and I've had lots of editors. He published a dozen
books, among them the substantial Captain Sir Francis Richard
Burton: The Secret Agent Who Made the Pilgrimage to Mecca,
Discovered the Kama Sutra and Brought the Arabian Nights to the
West (Da Capo Press, 1990) after a lifelong passion for the
explorer, and The Man in the Sycamore Tree: The Good Times and
Hard Life of Thomas Merton ['38] (Harcourt, 1985), about his
great pal and mine.
After the burial, we gathered with Dolly as hostess in Ed's
garden-orchard at Sagaponack for food and stories. The place came
alive with color and spirit. Nearby, in a small grove now overgrown
with weeds, is Sag-henge, which, Ed always said, arrived from outer
space during one stormy night, but in truth was planted there
back-breakingly by Ed — a magnificent piece of sea-soaked and
shaped timber from the Atlantic. It was a memorable occasion for
all of us.
Parkinson's stopped Ed from typing, writing by hand, painting
— all the things he had lived for throughout his life. So to
help fill in the gaps, he and I talked at great length on many
occasions into a tape recorder, setting down thoughts about Merton,
religion, the church, and people and nations. Ed believed in
bringing together religions, people and nations, and worked hard at
it all his life. Sag-henge is still there as a monument."Goodbye,
sport; oh, how I will miss you!"