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Close friends remember beloved WWII veteran Tom Rice

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Posted at 7:58 PM, Nov 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-17 22:58:02-05

CORONADO, Calif. (KGTV) — Beloved WWII veteran Tom Rice has passed away.

He was 101 years old and well-known in the Coronado community.

"He was always willing to try something new. He was very positive," said Clint Russell.

Russell is the owner of CrossFit Coronado.

It's where Rice worked out two times a week for the past few years.

Russell also trained Rice, who was a paratrooper during WWII, for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day jump into Normandy.

"I went to France with him. Something I thought was really cool is that he carried his suitcase up the stairs. You don't see a lot of people 100 years old do that," he said.

Rice served in the 101st Airborne Division. Thursday, the unit posted on Facebook saying, "Farewell to a 101st airborne legend, Tom Rice. Tom was a humble man who just wanted to do his duty for his country."

After the jump, Rice continued working out at CrossFit Coronado growing stronger each day.

"When he first came, he kind of walked like this and looked at his feet and then one day he's like I walk straight now. I can watch where I'm going," Russell said.

The workouts also helped Rice prepare for his skydive on his 100th birthday near Hotel Del Coronado in 2021.

The event brought out hundreds of people and service members.

"We did a lot of maneuvering up there. It was a lot of fun," said Rice after the jump.

A close friend of Rice said he died in his sleep shortly after midnight on Thursday.

Russell said he has peace in knowing Rice lived a long, fulfilling life.

"He'll be remembered as a good human. Just a generally good human," he said.

Rice was also a teacher in San Diego for more than 40 years.