Leota Stinnett Rice


Leota Stinnett Rice, 89, of Cleveland, departed this life peacefully to be with her Savior Jesus Christ on Friday, Dec. 30, 2022.

She was born on June 29, 1933, in Benton, to the late Alfred and Stella Mae Cavett Stinnett.

Throughout life she served others well and valued family. Leota grew up active in church, first at Smyrna Baptist and then at First Baptist Church in Benton. In her younger years, she traveled and stayed with families in other communities to do Vacation Bible School. She was well-known in the area as a leader at Benton Banking Co. for over 40 years. She loved to travel with family, friends and on bus tours.

In addition to her parents, Leota was preceded in death by her daughter, Ramona (David, surviving) King; siblings, Paul Stinnett, Marvin (Evelyn) Stinnett, Jerry Stinnett, and Lucille (W.L.) Shipman; sister-in-law, Shirlyn Stinnett.

Left to cherish the many memories, include her loving husband of 68 years, James W. “Billy” Rice; beloved daughter, Rhonda (Tom) Jolley; brothers, Billy (Drusilla) Stinnett and A.J. Stinnett; sister-in-law, Clara Stinnett; cherished grandchildren, Meagan Jolley and Joshua (Lauren) Jolley; great-grandchildren, Addy Jolley, Leah Jolley, Nolan Jolley and Owen Jolley; and several nieces, nephews, cousins, and a host of friends.

A Celebration of Life service was conducted at 1 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, at First Baptist Church of Benton, with Dr. Robert K. Speights officiating.

Interment followed at Benton Memorial Gardens with the following family serving as pallbearers: Chris Stinnett, Greg Stinnett, Terry Stinnett, Nathan Shipman, Jeff Stinnett and Danny Stinnett; and honorary pallbearers, Mike Stinnett, Mark Shipman, Dennis Stinnett and Dean Stinnett.

Family and friends gathered from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, prior to the service at the church.

Expressions of sympathy may be shared with the family at

Higgins Funeral Home of Benton is in charge of arrangements.



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