Member Biography

John Stanley Rice 

Sessions Office Position District Party
1933-1934       33 Democrat
1935-1936       33 Democrat
1937-1938       33 Democrat
1939-1940     President Pro Tempore 33 Democrat

COUNTIES: Adams, Franklin  


01/28/1899 - 08/02/1985

Colonel John Stanley Rice (D33) Adams and Franklin Counties 1933-1940

Early Life:

Colonel John Stanley Rice, born January 28, 1899, Brysonia, Menallen Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania; son of Leighton H. and Florence Jane Hartman Rice; public school education; Gettysburg Academy, Gettysburg College, Phi Beta Kappa;  Temple University, honorary Doctor of Law;  married, Grace Luene Rogers Rice, daughter, Ellen F. Rice; private, World War I , World War II, 1918-1941 Major, United States Army Air Corps Pennsylvania Salvage Drive, retired, Colonel; apple picker, fruit packing supply company 1934-1955; elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1933-1940; elected, Democratic floor leader, 1937-1938, elected, Senate President pro tempore, 1939-1940; trustee, Gettysburg College, 1939-1972, acting president, Gettysburg College, 1955-1956; unsuccessful, campaign Democratic Governor, 1946; appointed, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, 1955 ; appointed, Secretary, Department of Property and Supplies (Department of General Services) 1955-1957; appointed, Secretary, Commonwealth 1958-1961; elected chair, State Democratic Party, 1959-1961; appointed, President John F. Kennedy, United States Ambassador, Netherlands, 1961-1964; died, August 02, 1985 (age 86), Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida; interment Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, Adams County, Pennsylvania.

Early Career:

Private, World War I, 1918, continuing military service as first chair of the 1941 Pennsylvania Salvage Drive, Major, United States Army Air Corps, World War II. Served, “personnel officer, attached to the North Atlantic Air Transport Command Division” and proved “instrumental in forming a prayer squadron,” widely considered a “morale builder for the division.” Received, Legion of Merit, retiring as a Colonel.  

Pioneered a fruit picker packing supply business, Adams County, president, Rice, Trew, and Rice Company, Biglerville; president, State Container Company, 1947-1955. Sold, business interests, 1955, enterprises becoming the Rice Fruit Company and the Inland Container Company.

Professional titles; business ownership; board memberships; local government; club memberships:

Trustee, Gettysburg College, 1939-1972, chair, 1955-1961, acting president, Gettysburg College, 1955-1956. Trustee, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg; member, board of pensions, United Lutheran Church in America; director, Gettysburg National Bank; chairman, 75th commemoration, Battle of Gettysburg.

Pennsylvania Politics:

Elected, Democrat, Pennsylvania State Senate, 33rd district, Adams and Franklin Counties, 1933-1940; elected, Democratic floor leader, 1937-1938 (resignation, Warren Roberts became State Auditor General) elected, Senate President pro tempore, 1939-1940 (Harvey Huffman, deceased); committee assignments, Agriculture, Appropriations, Finance, Forestry, Game and Fish, Military Affairs, Rules, Welfare, Public Assistance and Pensions.  

Unsuccessful campaign, Democratic nominee for governor, 1946, Republican State Attorney General James Duff.

Appointed, Governor George Leader, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, 1955, resigned, 1955.  

Appointed, Governor George Leader, Secretary, Department of Property and Supplies (Department of General Services), 1955-1957.

Appointed, Governor David Leo Lawrence, Secretary, Commonwealth (James Finnegan, deceased), 1958-1961.

Elected chair, State Democratic Party, 1959-1961.

Continued Government Service/National Politics:

Appointed, President John F. Kennedy, United States Ambassador, Netherlands, 1961-1964.


Named in his honor, Rice Hall, on the campus of Gettysburg College.


Westbrook, C. H., editor. (1939). The Pennsylvania manual, Volume 84. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, pages 703, 710 and 712.

JOHN S. RICE, A FORMER ENVOY, August 4, 1985, Section 1, Page 34 New York Times National Edition.