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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Monday, November 07, 2005

John Rice Dead at 53

He passed away Saturday. The cause of death is still unknown. Most people who live in Palm Beach County know who John Rice is plus his brother Greg. They were the actors in Hullet(a local exterminating company) commercials for years. Greg and John are also in the Guiness book of World Records as the shortest pair of living twins, they both stood 2'10.

Both brothers frequented Lantana and were sometimes sighted by me or the family. John was a local celebrity but if it bothered him he kept it to himself. He was friendly in public. My wife and late father both got to meet the brothers. Now one is gone. John Rice, RIP and my condolences to Greg, who is grieving deeply right now.

Open Post- Jo's Cafe

By William H Hartnett
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Campy pest control ads, late-night real estate infomercials, countless public appearances and a record-setting lack of stature turned Palm Beach County's own Rice brothers into a singular brand name.

John and Greg, it seemed, were everywhere, and always together.

Emceeing Lake Worth's Christmas parade, together. Mingling with local dignitaries at the grand opening of the county's convention center, together. Zipping around on a pair of Segway scooters as grand marshals of a golf cart parade down Clematis Street. As ever, together.

All of which — their celebrity, their ubiquity, their inseparability both personally and in the public eye — made the sudden death of John Rice on Saturday night particularly shocking.

"We're not seen as John Rice and Greg Rice, we're seen as John-and-Greg Rice," Greg said on Sunday. Of the shock of being without his brother, business partner and best friend of more than 50 years, Greg said, simply: "It's almost like planning your own funeral."

John Rice slipped on a step and broke his leg Friday afternoon, and died of unknown causes while in surgery to repair it Saturday night. He was 53, just a few weeks shy of his 54th birthday.

John was the older brother, arriving five minutes ahead of Greg at St. Mary's Medical Center in 1951. Hours after they were born, the brothers' birth parents "got up and left in the middle of the night," Greg said.

"For whatever reason, they couldn't handle the fact they had these two little guys come into their lives," Greg said. "Was it because we were diagnosed dwarfs, because we were twins?"
After nine months in the care of nuns, the boys were taken in by foster parents Frank and Mildred Windsor. The elementary school janitor and his wife always treated the Rice brothers like regular boys, Greg said, whether they were learning to ride bicycles, driving go-carts or playing Tarzan on a rope swing.

"If there's any one reason why John and I became the two guys we are today, I give them full credit," Greg said. "They never treated us like we were three feet tall. They weren't reckless, but anything we wanted to try, we were given the opportunity to try."

Mildred Windsor died when John and Greg were in eighth grade, and Frank Windsor died two years after that. The brothers moved in with the Windsors' oldest daughter and her family until they graduated from the old Palm Beach High School in 1969.

John and Greg got jobs as door-to-door salesmen during their senior year, peddling home cleaning and personal care products.

"We couldn't get jobs at the grocery store or pumping gas like all of our tall friends," Greg said.

"The only job we could get was straight commission door-to-door sales."

The brothers, listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the shortest twins on the planet, had always been outgoing. They eventually were hired to travel the country and world to train other salesmen, Greg said.

Then, in what Greg said was his brother's typically daring manner, John decided they should shift gears completely.

"One day John was reading the newspaper and there was an ad in there for a real estate licensing school," Greg said. "And John looks over at me and says, 'Hey, Greg, let's go into the real estate business.' "

John was the outgoing brother, the risk-taker, Greg said. But he also never stopped living the lessons of perseverance he preached as a motivational speaker.

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