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Columbia Missourian

Bill Dalzell spent his life giving to others

By Erin Jones
March 1, 2012 | 9:40 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — When he was admitted to the hospital, Bill Dalzell was worried about the people he served through the Meals on Wheels program receiving their food in his absence.

"That's just the way he was," his wife, Norah-Creina "Nickey" Dalzell, said. "He always had to be busy doing something for somebody else."


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William Clifford Dalzell of Columbia died Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012. He was 86.

He was born on March 4, 1925, in Wilkinsburg, Pa., to William and Albana (Frey) Dalzell.

Mr. Dalzell served in the Navy during World War II in the south Pacific as an aviation ordnanceman. When the war ended, he attended Kent State University in Ohio, where he met Nickey Alger, who became his wife on Sept. 4, 1948. They were married for 63 years.

"I was 19 when we met, and I guess we just clicked," Nickey Dalzell said.

"He had amazing love for his wife," said the Rev. Shelton of Community United Methodist Church. "At the end of the church services, when people come to shake my hand, he would be holding hands with her. When she was ill this past year, he went to church by himself and asked for prayers. You could tell the kind of love and worry he had for her when she was hurting."

Nickey Dalzell fell in love with her husband because of how caring he was, she said. She described him as gracious, gentlemanly, someone who never said "no."

"He was a wonderful guy; I was always wondering why he chose me," she said.

They had three children: Jeffrey, Ann and Joan.

"He would probably say his greatest accomplishment was his family," Nickey Dalzell said.

During his career, Mr. Dalzell worked for Holland American Steamship in Chicago. In 1961, he began working for Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, as the Alumni Development director.

Mr. Dalzell and his family moved to Columbia in 1967. He had been the director of Alumni Relations at MU and a founding member of the Tourin' Tigers program, where retired alumni take international trips together. He also worked as a fundraiser for Ketchum Inc. and raised funds and volunteered for the Missouri Lions Eye Research Foundation.

"Bill, he had a tremendous amount of energy and an amazingly kind heart," Shelton said. "When you're a Christian, you show love to other people, and he did that in a very authentic way, and that's something you treasure."

Mr. Dalzell taught Sunday school classes at Community United Methodist Church and was part of the visitation team. He was the state director for the Missouri Good Sam Club. One of his mission trips included helping in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

"It was an honor for him to help the people rebuild their lives," said his son-in-law Les Borgmeyer.

Borgmeyer remembers all the family events and barbecues at Fairview Lake, where they would swim, play games and ride in a paddle boat. Mr. Dalzell would fish with his grandchildren.

"One year he bought the kids a blow-up water trampoline," he said. "It was one of the highlights of their summer. On one Fourth of July, everyone brought out water balloons, and he helped the children fill them up to throw at everyone." 

The family also has an annual Christmas singalong with family and friends, Borgmeyer said.

"We will miss him making his famous Sangria punch," he said. "Grandpa always made sure there was a 'kid' punch and an 'adult' punch."

Mr. Dalzell's friends and family said they would miss everything about him.

"He was an extremely hospitable person — somebody that went out of his way to make people feel comfortable," Shelton said. "He had a natural, friendly way about him."

"I'll miss everything, just him being here with me," Nickey Dalzell said. "His smile, his laugh."

His daughter Ann's dog, Lucky, misses him, too.

"Bill would visit him during the day to let him out and play, and they developed a bond," Borgmeyer said. "He's constantly looking for Grandpa."

Mr. Dalzell is survived by his wife, Norah-Creina "Nickey" Dalzell; his son Jeffrey Dalzell and wife, Rhonda, of Liberty; his daughter, Ann Borgmeyer and husband, Les, of Columbia; son-in-law Stephen Savage of Columbia; grandchildren Kimberly Taylor, Katherine Dalzell, Molly, Sara and Billy Borgmeyer and Cara and Devin Savage.

His daughter Joan Savage died earlier.

A visitation will be held 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Community United Methodist Church, 3301 W. Broadway. Burial will follow in Memorial Park Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to Community United Methodist Church or Meals on Wheels, c/o Memorial Funeral Home, 1217 Business Loop 70 W., Columbia, MO 65202.