William E. Rice grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was graduated from Highland High School and the University of New Mexico. He was a sales representative for McGraw-Hill Book Company for ten years before moving to Dallas as the new owner of Allstate Business College.

Bill later purchased a business college in Waco and served on the proprietary school advisory board for the Texas Education Agency and the national accrediting commission. His proficiency in Spanish earned him trips to Puerto Rico and Costa Rica as an advisor/translator for the accrediting commission. In 1974 Bill received his MBA degree from Pepperdine University.

Both business schools were sold in the early 1980s, and Bill directed his entrepreneurial skills to other endeavors including development of a computer software program, home building, and development of a mobile home park in Weatherford.

Bill’s health deteriorated in the late 1990s, but he continued to work from his home and encouraged his wife, Rose, and their children to pursue their business goals. In April 2001, Bill suffered a heart attack and stroke and was in acute care facilities until his death in July of that year. On two occasions, he was entertained in his hospital room by musicians from Texas Winds.

In 2004, the Board of Directors of Texas Winds voted to name its hospital concert series in memory of William E. Rice.