International Water Ski Racing Online Since 1996

Don Brice Passes Away

America’s Don Brice recently passed away and many old timers will be saddened by the news. Don’s son Keith said; “back in the early 70’s, we had the Macmanus family stay at our home. This was the first year the Aussies came to the states!”

Keith has shared below, the obituary run in the Lakeport Record Bee

Donald Gene Brice was born on August 5, 1929, in Cove, Arkansas, and passed away peacefully at his home in Chino Hills, California on October 25, 2008. He attended California’s Burbank High School and graduated from Sonora High School. He served in the U.S. Army from 1956-58 stationed at the Presidio in San Francisco. He ran his business, Brice Engineering, from 1967 and continued to work in the machining business until he retired in the Spring 2008. His son, Keith, continues to run Brice Engineering in Lakeport.

Don was an accomplished machinist and innovator. He was introduced to Water Ski racing in the late 50’s and hand built his first Ski race boat, a 18’ Rayson Craft, named “Goosebumps” in 1961. During this period in his life, Don was actively involved with working on the Offenhaeuser powered Novi Indy Car Team and was partially responsible for the success of Lee Taylor’s “Hustler” jet boat World Record run of 286.875
MPH, as Don personally installed the throttle mechanisms for this achievement. He was also instrumental in introducing the late great Ray Caselli, blown fuel flat bottom icon and close personal friend, to drag boat racing in the early sixties.

Another key achievement around this time, was building the first prototype Arneson pool sweep units for inventor Howard Arneson of San Rafael, CA. Don had a passion for motor sports and was an accomplished
drag boat racer with the National Drag Boat Racing Association in conjunction with becoming a National Champion boat racer and elected official and founding member of the National Speedboat and Water Ski Racing Association.

He served on the board of directors as a Commodore for many ski racing organizations. He loved dirt bike riding, driving his dune buggies, and in more recent years enjoyed piloting his Sea doo as well as his golf cart with his two dogs on board. He was also a member of the Long Beach, Los Angeles and Marina boat & ski clubs. Don and his family have vacationed and competed in Ski racing events in Lakeport since the early sixties. He loved lakeport and all the many friends he made here.

He is survived by his loving companion of 32 years, Judith Cotner, of Chino Hills, CA; son and daughter-in-law Keith and Dawna Brice of Lakeport, CA; daughter Susan Rasmussen of South Lake Tahoe, CA; daughter Cristy Brice of Lucerne, CA; stepdaughters and son-in-laws Rhonda and Gary Hardasty of Chino Hills, CA, Michelle and Phil Kramer of Yorba Linda, CA, and Melissa and Paul Rivera of Yorba Linda, CA; grandchildren Shiloh and Kura Brice, Ryan and Sarah Rasmussen, Jason Kramer and Amy King, Jeremy
and Amanda Hardasty, Lauren, Michelle, Crystal, Valerie, and Jordan Rivera; great-grand children Emily and Kayla, Donald Gene Brice as well as many nieces and nephews and other family relatives including brother-in-law Jeff Young of Lake Havasu City, AZ.

He was preceded in death by Joanie Brice, ex wife, mother and step father Effie & Paul Piltz of Big Oak Flat, California.

Family services will be held in the Spring of 2009 at Lake Havasu Landing where Don and Judy had a second home. They both had many friends and cherished memories there. Family and friends have decided to purchase a lamp post in downtown Lakeport.

Donations can be made to the “Don Brice Memorial Lamp Post Fund” at Savings Bank of Mendocino County, PO Box 156, Lakeport, CA 95453.

Don has the “pole position” secured at the newly dedicated “boat racer alley” on 1st St. next to Library Park in Lakeport, CA.” Big Daddy Don” will always live on in our hearts.

Lakeport Record Bee

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On Facebook