HAINES CITY - Mr. William Thomas Bice, Sr. was born February 6, 1928 to Lorin and Ruth Bice in Winter Haven, Florida. The family, including his elder sister Doris, soon moved to Haines City where he would spend his childhood years. He attended Haines City High School and succeeded in both academics and athletics; he was the end for the single-wing football team in the early 1940s. As he was negotiating the teen years, his baby sister Judy was born and completed the family. As Tom entered the ninth grade he met Frances Smith, the girl that was to become his wife and life partner. She predeceased him in 2009.
Tom was a 1946 graduate of Haines City High; as such he was a part of "The Greatest Generation" and saw classmates just a few years older go to the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific, some never to return. Following high school graduation he attended University of Florida and earned a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration in 1950.
Soon after college, Tom and Fran Bice were married on September 22, 1950, and moved to their home just north of the Lake Wales city limits. After working a few years in the insurance industry, and experimenting with raising cattle, turkeys, chickens and other agricultural options, he settled on becoming a citrus grower. It was his life-long vocation and passion.Although a Methodist in youth, he raised his family in the First Baptist Church of Lake Wales, and saw all of his children baptized in that church. As empty nesters, he and Frances moved their membership to the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Wales and were active members of that body until health issues dictated otherwise. He was called to the offices of both Deacon and Elder during his tenure there. He was active in both his community and in the citrus industry as a member of the Lion's Club; an organizer, director and chairman of the American Bank of Lake Wales, a director of the Lake Wales Hospital, a board member of the Vanguard Academy, a trustee of Polk Community College, a director of the Florida Land Bank, and a director of Production Credit board.
He enjoyed watching the Florida Gators sport teams, particularly the football team which he attended regularly since the 1950s. He fished the central Florida lakes for bass and speckled perch and enjoyed family trips to Vero Beach and the North Carolina Mountains.
He is survived by his four children: Bill (Darlene) Winter Haven, FL, Steve (Karen) Winter Haven, FL, Lorin, Winter Haven, FL, Ruth (Rob) Bearden, Madison, GA; sisters: Doris (Ralph) Stalnaker, Haines City, FL, Judy (Ed) Winchester, Haines City Florida; brother-in-law, Ray (Jean) Golden, Dundee, FL; thirteen grandchildren and four great granddaughters.
 Tom Bice died at Good Shepherd Hospice in Auburndale in the early evening hours of April 12, 2012 from heart failure, as his health deteriorated over the last years. He is mourned deeply and was well loved. His children and other loved ones are comforted in knowing of his firm and unshakable Christian faith, and rest is the sure and certain hope of resurrection into eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Today, in Paradise, Dad is with his beloved Frances, his Mom and Dad, and most of all, his Master and Savior. There is no more weakness, no more pain, no more sorrow.
 As we rest assured in Jesus' promise that He went before us to prepare a place in His Father's house, so we are confident that Tom Bice, our Dad, is busy about his work in the Kingdom and he too is working to prepare a place for his children, his grandchildren, his great grandchildren, and those yet to come.
 The family will receive friends from 5:00pm till 7:00pm, Saturday, April 14, 2012 at Oak Ridge Funeral Care in Winter Haven. Funeral Services will be at 1:00pm, Sunday, April 15, 2012 at the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Wales.
 Interment will follow at Oaklawn Cemetery in Winter Haven. In lieu of flowers please make donations to the Memorial Fund at the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Wales.  Lakeland Ledger

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