H. Allen Rice, 78, died Saturday, November 14, 2015, following a struggle with multiple health conditions.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Claudette; his sons, Chandler and Alexander; his siblings, Darla, Randy, Paula, and Alvin; his grandson, Ethan; and his many friends and colleagues.
Born November 6, 1937, in Hendersonville, North Carolina, Hiram Allen Rice was the oldest brother of five siblings, whose humble beginnings instilled in him the virtues and the power of opportunity, entrepreneurship, and hard work. He often and with great fondness described his childhood experience raising rabbits as his first entrepreneurial endeavor, and he held the lessons learned close to heart throughout his life, blending his natural pioneering spirit with the desire to help others.
As an Airman at Brooks Air Force Base, H. Allen Rice continued this philosophy, working as an athletic director and swim instructor, and building a swim school to help airmen’s children learn a vital life skill. It was here that he gained valuable insight into business growth through word of mouth referrals and duplicable training.
Following his term with the Air Force, H. Allen Rice experienced his first taste of the direct sales industry as a salesman for a cookware company, in which he learned the power of speaking directly to the consumer.
But it was a powerful and fateful encounter that truly ignited his passion and purpose as an entrepreneur. Through happenstance, H. Allen Rice met a young family with a tragic story – they had not only lost their child, but they had no photographs with which to remember him. Their situation provided H. Allen Rice with the idea and the impetus to fulfill an unmet need, and with the help of some fellow sales associates, he founded Treasured Portraits Club (TPC) as a way to bring convenient and affordable photo portraits directly to customers. TPC thrived as a direct sales company that succeeded both as a business and as a means to help others, but eventually, changes in photography technology and the industry in general prompted him to close down the business.
Even though his experience with TPC afforded him financial and personal success, H. Allen Rice’s entrepreneurial spirit remained strong, and he became determined to build a new business in an industry that would enable him to help others. Recognizing the growing need for better quality drinking water, H. Allen Rice, with his brother Alvin, founded what would become Multipure in 1970, on the principles of providing superior quality drinking water for better health, and an exceptional business opportunity for better lives. He envisioned and helped develop Multipure’s revolutionary carbon block filter in 1975, working with his brother from the barest of beginnings to hand craft carbon block filters in the sheds, garages, and ovens of their own homes. Over the course of 45 years, he would proceed to guide the company from their two-person garage operation into a global manufacturer of high-quality drinking water systems and a provider of a path to meaningful entrepreneurship. One of H. Allen Rice’s proudest moments as a businessman was the successful development and manufacture of Multipure’s first stainless steel drinking water system, which he viewed with the affection of a proud father.
H. Allen Rice believed in hard work and dedication to excellence. He believed in the power and decency of helping others. He believed in a product and a business opportunity that are so obvious in their excellence that they sold themselves when given a chance. And he believed that in life, key opportunities – “magic moments” – appear that can shape and define one’s future. H. Allen Rice seized his first magic moment when he founded Treasured Portraits Club. He seized his next, and greatest, magic moment when he created Multipure. Through Multipure, he created products to improve people’s health. He created an opportunity to improve people’s lives. He created a family of Distributors and employees and customers, many thousands strong, across the world, who today are better off because of his presence and his actions and his leadership through the years.
If one were to encapsulate H. Allen Rice in a few words, those words would be Family, Opportunity, and Innovation. These attributes are felt throughout everyone and everything he touched – his products, his business, his employees, and his friends and relatives. H. Allen Rice worked his entire life to improve himself and his family. He found his opportunity, he made an impact for the better, and he ensured that others benefited from his success. This is the legacy of H. Allen Rice, and the family of people that knew him mourns the passing of a great man.