Funeral Arrangements Announced for Former Director David H. Rice

For More Information: 

Jan Branham

For Immediate Release
Release Date: 
Wed, 03/23/2016

Norfolk, VA (March 21, 2016) – Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA) former Executive Director David H. Rice passed away March 14 after a brief illness.  Rice oversaw many successful projects and initiatives during his 38-year tenure with the City of Norfolk and NRHA.  He was much admired and respected by his peers; many NRHA employees and retirees kept in touch with Rice and are deeply saddened by his passing.

A Massachusetts native, Rice joined NRHA in 1970 as Director of Planning and Engineering after holding key planning positions with the City of Norfolk. Rice first came to Norfolk as a naval officer in 1958. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College and Master’s degree in Urban Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

While at NRHA, Rice guided the development of Norfolk’s landmark commercial and residential projects. Commercial developments included Waterside Festival Marketplace, MacArthur Center, Tidewater Community College’s downtown campus, Eastern Virginia Medical School complex, Old Dominion University Academic Village and Town Point Park.  Major residential developments included Ghent Square, Attucks Square, Middle Towne Arch, Pinewell by the Bay, StoneBridge Crossing and The Heritage at Freemason. 

Rice retired to Brooklin, Maine in 2001, where he took up the fine art of wooden boat building, and launched his first wooden boat – "The Nancy." He also became a prolific artist. Many of his landscape paintings can be viewed at He was a man of many talents: storyteller, gourmet cook, avid gardener, and a skilled sailor.

"Mr. Rice would have been so pleased to hear the announcement this week of almost 2,000 new jobs coming to the downtown that he was a guiding hand in helping remake," said NRHA Chair Barbara Hamm Lee.

Current Executive Director, John Kownack, said “Mr. Rice has left a lasting legacy in Norfolk and he will be missed by all whose lives he touched.” 

There will be a private Celebration of Life gathering in Baltimore on April 17. Services will also be planned in Norfolk, Virginia and Brooklin, Maine at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in David Rice’s memory to the Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop, a nonprofit charitable and educational organization that uses wooden boatbuilding and other nautical related activities to help disadvantaged youth in Hampton Roads develop the essential life skills that lead to a successful future. Donations can be made directly via their website: OR by mailing a check to: Tidewater Woodenboat Building Workshop, P.O. Box 1243, Norfolk, VA 23501.

About NRHA: 

Founded in 1940, NRHA is a national leader in community revitalization and fostering sustainable mixed-income communities.  As the largest redevelopment and housing authority in Virginia, NRHA is an important driver of the local economy.

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