Two weeks before the World Trade Center explosion, David Rice, 31, had been on an airplane that nearly crashed. Rice later told family members he felt an incredible calm on that plane, because he knew he had no control over events.
"David told them he'd learned that in tough times, get down on your knees and pray to God," said the Rev. Joseph Ross, the priest at his family church, Christ the King Catholic Church of Oklahoma City. "His family believes that's what he did at his desk at the World Trade Center just before he died."
A native of Oklahoma City, Rice attended the church's elementary school and then Bishop McGuiness High School. He graduated from Loyola University in Chicago in 1994 with honors, then got a master's degree in finance from the London School of Economics in 1996. He also studied as a Fulbright Scholar in Africa one semester. He was employed as an investment banker at Sandler O'Neill & Partners, an investment banking firm, with offices on the 104th floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center.
"David was very inclusive, and had a really wide circle of friends from all the places where he'd traveled and gone to school," Ross said.
Recently divorced, Rice is survived by his father, attorney Hugh Rice, his mother, Cindy Rice, who works for the church, and a brother and sister who live in New York.
After the north tower was hit, Rice called his parents and his siblings to tell them he was safe, that he and his colleagues had been told to stay at their desks.
"As tragic as this is, the family considers it a gift that his body was actually located and identified," Ross said.