Stephen Rice left his mark on Austin and innumerable nonprofits. And he left this world and his husband way too soon. Shock. Disbelief. Sadness. Reflection. Just a few of the emotions we have had, heard and shared. While on vacation in Colorado, Stephen sustained injuries while riding ATV’s. The extent of these injuries were not known until this past Saturday when he was rushed to the hospital from a brunch with his friends. He passed away shortly after.
As told through Mary Morrison’s story in 2011, Stephen and his husband, Mark Erwin, constantly connected the fabric of our community. Stephen was the voice, both literally and figuratively, of the LGBT community. He hosted the long running LGBT show OutCast on KOOP Radio and most recently was a KUT announcer and producer. One of Stephen’s favorite projects at KUT included his work with Sonic ID, the quirky vignettes that give listeners a glimpse into Austin. Though most are about Austin, this clip from Stephen’s neighbor quickly captures his friendly and welcoming spirit.
Madison Inselmann via KUT
KUT General Manager, Stewart Vanderwilt, easily summed up his positivity perfectly when he said, “You could hear a smile in his voice…”
Originally from Tyler, Texas, Stephen moved to Austin in 1992 and met husband, Mark in 1994. The pair gave of their time freely and easily raising money and awareness to critical organizations such as AIDS Services of Austin, The Hill Country Ride for AIDS, Equality Texas, the Octopus Club, and many, many more. His was the face that stood out in the crowd. The smile that welcomed you over for a conversation whether you were old friends or new to town. His warm voice and beaming smile lit up countless evenings and gatherings.
An inseparable duo, our love and hearts go out to Mark. It is a loss that is unimaginable and a void that is unable to be filled.