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Published: Thursday, 9/29/2011

Doctor cared for patients in Fayette office at all hours

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

FAYETTE, Ohio -- Dr. Robert W. Nyce, 85, Fayette's sole family physician for most of the 47 years he practiced medicine in the Fulton County community, died yesterday in Fairlawn Haven nursing care, Archbold. He had Parkinson's disease.

Dr. Nyce retired from his practice in 2003 after meeting his patients' every medical need and delivering, by conservative estimates, hundreds of babies. No one kept precise count. He was proud that he delivered the grandchildren of babies he delivered-- having cared for, back when, those first babies' parents and even grandparents.

"Delivering babies was what he liked to do more than anything else," his son Richard said. "Everyone I talk to around here says, 'Your dad delivered me,' so there's a lot of them.

"His first question after a baby was born -- 'How's Mama doing?' not 'What's up with the baby?' He was always looking from that side, 'I know it's tough on moms.' He was sensitive to those things people wouldn't always pick up on."

The Nyce family phone rang three or four times a night. A driveway separated the family home from Dr. Nyce's office, and patients with various needs came by on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. He might grumble a bit, out of earshot, of the patient with a chronic condition who dropped in over the weekend to avoid a waiting room wait, but "he was always gracious. He always saw them," his son said.

"He was overjoyed to serve these people as well as he could," his son said. "I think he would say he felt he was doing God's work in Fayette for the people of the community."

He was a former president of the Gorham Fayette Local Board of Education, on which he served in the 1970s, and was a leader in efforts to keep the district from being consolidated with -- or absorbed by -- another district.

Earlier, he was a member of the village's park board when it opened a swimming pool, which since has closed, and initiated the annual Bull Thistle Arts Festival.

He was a leader in the renovation of the 19th-Century opera house. Benches around a gazebo on the opera house grounds were dedicated in his honor, as was "Nyce Drive" in Fayette.

"He did a lot of work for the community, and he was pleased they appreciated what he did," his son said.

He was born July 24, 1926, in Soudertown, Pa., to Grace and Wynne Nyce. He was a 1944 graduate of Doylestown, Pa., High School. He and his family were Mennonites, and he was granted conscientious objector status during World War II. As an alternative to military conscription, he took part in Civilian Public Service. He was an orderly in a Rhode Island mental hospital; stayed in a tower above the trees as a fire watcher near Luray, Va., and fought fires at Sequoia National Forest.

The process of becoming a conscientious objector and the service he performed caused him to look at his religion and his life.

"He thought that for him to serve people the best he wanted to, he could be a doctor," his son said.

Dr. Nyce was a graduate of Goshen College, Goshen, Ind., and of Hahnemann Medical School in Philadelphia.

Surviving are his wife, Ruth, whom he married Aug. 2, 1950; daughters, Karen Stuckey and Susan Stiffney; sons, Richard and Phil Nyce; sister, Joyce Osborne; brothers, Donald and John Nyce; 10 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

The family will receive visitors from 4-8 p.m. tomorrow in the Eagle Funeral Home-Barrett Chapel, Fayette, and from 2-6 p.m. Saturday in Zion Mennonite Church, Archbold. Memorial services will be at 4:30 p.m. Sunday in Zion Mennonite Church.

The family suggests tributes to the Mennonite Central Committee, Akron, Pa., or Goshen College, Goshen, Ind.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.



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