W. Nyce, Brethren program director Pioneer in developing crafts marketing

March 02, 1996|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

William P. Nyce, who served as director of the international crafts marketing program for the Church of the Brethren, died Sunday of progressive dementia at the Leader Nursing Center in Chambersburg, Pa. The Westminster resident was 71.

In 1964, after giving up a career in the family-owned printing and merchandising business where he had worked for many years, Mr. Nyce went to work for the Church of the Brethren as supervisor of business procedures at the Brethren Service Center in Houston.

Soon after, he became the first full-time director of the Sales Exchange for Refugee Rehabilitation Vocations (SERRV), which has headquarters in New Windsor. He retired in 1980.

SERRV was founded after World War II to help young refugees and displaced person in war-ravaged Germany market their crafts. Today, the nonprofit corporation helps artisans in developing and Third World nations, including Vietnam and Russia, market their crafts.

He was a pioneer in what is now an international network of alternative marketing organizations that promote the social and economic progress of people in developing areas.

"He was totally dedicated. He is fondly remembered by our producers worldwide and through his work touched many lives," said Barbara Fogle, SERRV purchasing manager and friend for 10 years. "He had a strong role in the growth of our program. Today we're active with over 40 countries worldwide."

His wife, the former Frances Clemens, whom he had known as a teen-ager in Lansdale, Pa., and whom he married in 1966, said, "Bill's philosophy was that of the Church of the Brethren, which, along with the Quakers and Mennonites, is known as the other peace church. 'For the glory of God and my neighbor's good.' "

A conscientious objector during World War II, Mr. Nyce served in the U.S. Forest Service and was a control patient for the Army Epidemiological Board.

In 1948, he earned a bachelor's degree from Juniata College in business administration and worked with Nyce Manufacturing Co. until 1964.

He was a member, treasurer, deacon and co-chairman of the refugee resettlement committee of the Westminster Church of the Brethren and was on the board of directors of the Westminster Co-Op Supermarket. He was also a member of the Greenbelt Cooperative and treasurer of the Carroll County CROP walk.

A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. today at the Westminster Church of the Brethren, Bond Street and Park Place, Westminster.

In addition to his wife of 29 years, he is survived by a brother, Alfred P. Nyce of Lansdale; two sisters, Beulah Shisler of Lansdale, and Gwen Hartzel of Souderton, Pa.; and many nieces and nephews.

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