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Kathleen Rice was born in St. Marys, Ontario, in 1883, to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Lincoln Rice. She graduated from the University of Toronto in 1906 and began a career as a math teacher. She taught in Belleville, Ontario before moving to western Canada. Once in the west, she taught mathematics in Alberta and Yorkton, Saskatchewan.
In 1913, Kathleen and her brother, Lincoln, decided to stake a homestead near The Pas, Manitoba. Shortly thereafter, war broke out and Lincoln, who later became a Lieutenant Colonel, joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Kathleen decided to stay on the homestead alone. After teaching herself about geology and prospecting, she headed to the Herb Lake area north of The Pas. She claimed an island - later called Rice Island - in Weksusko Lake, which turned out to be very rich in copper and nickel.
While it is rumoured that Rice and her business partner, Richard (Dick) Woosey, turned down $250,000 for their property, she eventually sold it to International Nickel (INCO) for approximately $20,000.
Kathleen Rice occasionally returned to Ontario to visit her family, but the majority of her adult life was spent in Northern Manitoba. She died in Brandon in 1964.