PHOENIX, Ariz. – William Nicely, of Phoenix and Greensboro, passed away on May 16, at the age of 90. He was a son of the late The Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Harold E. Nicely of Rochester, N.Y.
Bill grew up in Rochester. He graduated from Rochester public schools, Princeton University with honors, and the Harvard Law School. He served three years in the Navy as a lieutenant (jg) and as operations officer of a destroyer where he earned a commendation for outstanding performance of duty.
He practiced law with a Rochester law firm for a number of years, simultaneously teaching economics at the Rochester Institute of Technology. As general counsel, he later joined Callahan Mining Corporation, a diversified company with mining, manufacturing and gas and oil operations listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company relocated from New York City to Phoenix in 1980. At the time of his retirement, he was chairman and president of the company. After retirement, Bill was active in a number of organizations, including the Phoenix chapter of the Executive Service Corporation, the Arizona Theatre Company, and the AARP tax program.
Bill spent his early summer years on the north shore of Caspian Lake at a camp rented by his father from the Peter Watson family in the 1930s. It was an ideal place to learn to swim and catch perch. With modest skills, he played tennis and golf at the Mountain View Country Club. In later years, he enjoyed Friday morning breakfasts at the Hardwick Village Restaurant, where he and his friends discussed national concerns. He also loved driving his blue 1968 Volkswagen bug, which he was able to maintain with the help of the Greensboro Garage. Bill’s special hobbies included beekeeping and tending to his citrus grove and garden.
Bill is survived by his wife, Linda; two sons, Andrew of Washington, D.C., and Matthew of Phoenix; and five grandchildren. He was predeceased by a brother, John Nicely, and a sister, Patricia Nicely. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Greensboro United Church of Christ