Obituary: Knowlton Prentice (KP) Rice


1923 – 2019

Knowlton Prentice (KP) Rice

Knowlton Prentice (KP) Rice, Colonel, USMC (ret.), passed away peacefully on Dec. 25, 2019 in Laguna Beach surrounded by loved ones.

He was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on Oct. 29, 1923. His father died when KP was 2 years old, and his mother struggled to support him and his sister by taking in boarders. At a very young age, KP remodeled the family home to make this possible. Always an outstanding student, he attended Worcester Technical High School with the help of a scholarship from a local benefactor.

He received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University, a BS in Aeronautical Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and an MA in Aeronautical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

KP joined the Marines in 1945 to begin his flight training, and flying became his life-long passion. He served as an A-4 fighter pilot and a squadron commander in Vietnam and earned, among numerous other medals, the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bronze Star. During 30 years in the Marines, he rose to the rank of Colonel.

Later KP was stationed at the Pentagon and the China Lake Naval Weapons Center in California in research and development positions. He developed the OV-10 Bronco, which he built in his home garage. A forward air control, light attack aircraft, the Bronco was successfully employed for counter-insurgency combat during the Vietnam War and briefly during Operation Desert Storm. It is still used by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

From childhood on, KP was a designer and builder who never lacked projects that interested him. Until very recently, he was in the process of developing the Volante Flying Car in his Santa Ana shop. More information about KP Rice is available on the Internet.

A long-time resident of Laguna Beach, he relished living in the Table Rock community, where he daily swam laps in the pool and enjoyed long conversations in the Jacuzzi with friends and neighbors. KP loved life and lived it with gusto. He had a vivid memory and a sharp intellect until the very end. One of his favorite quotes was, “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow, what a ride!”

KP is survived by his life partner, Renae Jones, and his daughter, Kristen Rice Prinzing. He also leaves behind grandsons Brent Heemstra, Shawn Heemstra, and Daniel Prinzing, as well as Renae’s son Dr. Greg Engstrom, daughter Adrienne Marko, and grandsons Sam Marko and Ben Marko.

KP requested that his ashes be scattered at sea.

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