Frank Burns Rice, Sr. (1896-1963) and Helen Madeline Piekarek (1895-1992)


Frank Burns Rice, Sr. was born in Clear Creek, Indiana, and died in Detroit, Michigan.  Helen Madeline Piekarek was born in Detroit and died in Livonia, Michigan.  They married in Detroit in 1917.


Frank's parents: Alfred Augustus Rice (1872-1942) and Anna Irene Douglas (1871-1959)

Helen's parents: Julius Piekarek (1858-1897) and Julia Leczonierska (1858-1922)


Children of Frank and Helen:

  • Ilene Rice (1918-1918) lived one day
  • Lucille Patricia Rice (1919-2016) married Bert Alfred Swanson (1917-2011)
  • Clarence Alfred Rice (1922-2018) married Laura Jane Dempster (1922-)
  • Betty Lou Rice (1929-) married Carl Bernard Weiner (1929-1997)
  • Frank Burns Rice, Jr. (1934-) married Patricia Ann Good (1932-)


US Census records:

  • 1900, 342 Superior, Detroit, Michigan; Helen is listed as "Lena" in the household of her mother.
  • 1910, Perry Township, Monroe County, Indiana; Frank is listed in the household of his parents.
  • 1910, 458 Illinois St., Detroit, Michigan; Helen is listed as "Helena" in the household of her mother; Helen's occupation is "laborer."
  • 1920, 435 Holcomb Ave., Detroit, Michigan; Frank, Helen, and daughter Lucille in the household; Frank's occupation is inspector at a motor car company.
  • 1920, 142 St. Paul Ave., Detroit, Michigan; Frank is listed also in the household of his parents, so he was counted twice in 1920; his occupation is tool maker at a factory.
  • 1930, 18304 Lahser Ave., Detroit, Michigan; Frank, Helen, and three children in the household; Frank's occupation is machinist at a motor car company.
  • 1940, 4805 Williamson, Dearborn, Michigan; Frank, Helen, and four children in the household; Frank's occupation is gear cutter at an automobile factory.


Frank's middle name of Burns reflects his Scottish ancestry; he was named for the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns.  Frank's older brothers Fred and Bill served in World War I, but Frank somehow avoided it.  His WWI Draft Registration is dated June 5, 1917, three weeks before he was married.  It indicates that he lived at 142 St. Paul Ave. in Detroit and that he worked for Ford Motor Co. as a machinist.  Ford introduced its innovative assembly line in 1913.  By 1918, half of all cars in the country were Ford Model T's.

Frank Burns Rice, Sr., circa 1906, 1916, and 1955
Helen Madeline Piekarek (lower left) and her basketball team, circa 1912
In 2000, Clarence Alfred "Al" Rice reminisced about what life was like in 1928: "I wish I was 6 again.  We were poor and didn't know it.  Lou [Lucille Patricia Rice] would hit me on the back with her violin bow when I laughed when she made her violin squeak.  My Dad [Frank Burns Rice, Sr.] was still working then and we lived on Lahser a block or two north of Grand River in a two-family flat.  Betty hadn't been born yet, Frank [Jr.] either for that matter.  We used to play in the cemetery near there and go to matinees at the Redford Theatre.  I think I was happy, no McDonald's, no nuclear bombs.  Uncle Fred and Uncle Bill had been in WWI.  We would go to Grandpa & Grandma Rice's house [Alfred Augustus Rice and Anna Irene Douglas] on Concord south of Kercheval and the men would sit around the kitchen table with Grandpa drinking booze and eating limburger cheese and onions on rye bread.  The women would all be in the dining room near the old base burner (that's an in-the-room-furnace which you would feed coal from a coal scuttle (bucket) to warm the whole house).  Soon Ma [Helen Madeline Piekarek] would get tired of it and take a loong time to pull Dad away from the booze, cheese and off-colored jokes (they thought I didn't understand).  Sometimes Dad would stop at a White Castle and get a bag full of hamburgers, a nickel each, 20 for a buck, on our long trip to the west side of town.  Happy times, I guess--I was only six."
About 1925-1926, Frank and Helen had a small farm on Sherman Ave. near Berg Rd. and 8 Mile Rd., which they lost when unable to make the payments.  By 1927, they had moved to 18304 Lahser Ave. in Detroit, where Betty was born in 1929.  About 1931, they moved to 4805 Williamson in Dearborn, Michigan, where Frank Jr. was born in 1934.  Helen worked in a cigar factory after he was born and later worked as a riveter's assistant during World War II.  According to Dearborn city directories, Frank Sr. worked for Ford, Dodge, Chrysler, and Vickers as a toolmaker, gear cutter, machine operator, and inspector.  The family moved to 4790 Williamson in Dearborn in 1941, where Frank Sr. and Helen lived until 1956, when they retired and moved to Clearwater, Florida.  They moved back to Michigan in 1963, shortly before Frank Sr. died.
Frank Sr. is buried in the northwest portion of Acacia Park Cemetery, 31300 Southfield Rd. (at 13 Mile Rd.), Beverly Hills, Michigan.  Helen is buried in the Holy Sepulchre Catholic Cemetery, 25800 W. Ten Mile (at Beech Rd.), Southfield, Michigan.
Christmas, 1959

top: Frank B. Rice, Jr. (holding Elaine Rice), Lucille Rice Swanson, Bert Swanson,
Betty Rice Weiner, Carl Weiner, Clarence "Al" Rice

middle: Patricia Good Rice (holding Stephen and Kenneth Rice),
Helen Piekarek Rice (holding Craig Weiner), Frank B. Rice, Sr., Laura Dempster Rice

bottom: Leslie Rice, Mark Swanson, Tim Rice, Laura Rice, Marc Weiner,
Michael Rice, Gregory Swanson, Thomas Swanson