A. Rice Lyons, 93, of Princeton died peacefully in her home on October 31, 2022. She was born Hannah Rice on July 4, 1929, in Brooklyn to Morris Rice (a shortening of Reiser when he came through Ellis Island) and Lena (Rothman) Rice, and was the only child of their marriage, though she had several half-sisters. She was not called Hannah as a child, and was registered in school as Anita, learning only as a teenager that Anita was not her birth name. She was called Rice as a first name starting in junior high, where all the kids were known by their last names. That stuck permanently for her.
Rice married her high school sweetheart, Mymon Goldstein, in 1949. They moved to Princeton, where he received his Ph.D. in psychology, then to Denver, where their first two children were born. Another job took them to Bloomington, Indiana, and finally another to Lawrence Township, NJ, in 1960, where their third child was born. Rice began work at Princeton University in the mid-1960s, landing after a few years at the Office of Population Research as its department administrator. She and Mymon divorced in the early 1970s, and he died in 2004. Rice married Terry Lyons in 1973, and they moved to Princeton in 1975. Rice and Terry (still of Princeton) divorced in the late 1980s. She spent the rest of her working career at the OPR until her retirement in 1994, and remained a Princeton resident for the rest of her life.
Rice was a vibrant member of many circles who thrived on community and particularly on bringing people together to do the things she loved. She taught folk dancing for decades, with a particular emphasis on getting people to dance for the first time, and to enjoy dancing as much as she did. She incorporated folk dance into events she led at elementary schools and into LAFF (Life After Forty-Five), a class she developed and taught for years at Princeton University. She became a published poet later in life, and turned to teaching poetry at the Princeton senior center in 2000, which she did until her death. She was an involved member of the Princeton Unitarian church, where she led New Year’s Day poetry readings for years. She was a lifelong knitter, a lover of classy movies and TV shows (especially British mysteries), an enthusiastic poker player, an entertaining charades player, and a great cook. She was always the best storyteller in the room, usually adding a little embellishment to make the story more fun. And she was a loving and playful grandmother.
She is survived by her children Julia Goldstein (George Kostic) of Toronto, Nina Goldstein (Robert Anderson) of Ann Arbor, and Amy Goldstein (Owen O’Donnell) of Princeton, and her grandchildren Evan O’Donnell and Leanne O’Donnell. The family wishes to thank the invaluable Claudette Wright, Rice’s devoted caregiver of her last five years.
There will be a memorial service at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton in early 2023. Memorial contributions may be made to the UUCP or the Princeton Senior Resource Center.