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Dyal settles down in Fredericksburg after alifetime spent journeying around the world travelin' man B page 2
Fredericksburg resident Bill Dyal has traveled the world through his work with relief agencies.

 ABOVE: Bill Dyal (left) visited with a peasant farmer or 'campesino' in Guatemala.
Photos courtesy of BILL DYAL
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Date published: 4/4/2006

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The boy from Texas and the girl from Arkansas hit it off and later married.

"We're still together, 56 years later," Dyal said. Then, with a smirk, he added, "And I still like her."

She must like him as well. She's followed him across continents.

The Dyals' home in Fredericksburg is the 34th place they've lived.

Their three daughters and eight grandchildren also live in Virginia--in Fredericksburg, Reedville and Yorktown.

As often as Edie Dyal moved, she didn't travel as much as her husband. She stayed with the children in New York when Dyal was president of AFS International and visited 73 of 75 countries served by the program.

(AFS began under the name of American Field Service and is one of the world's largest student-exchange programs.)

At one time, the Dyal daughters kept a map in the breakfast nook so they could chart their father's paths. One night, when Dyal was home, his oldest child, Kathy, said a grateful prayer.

"Thanks for letting Daddy come over," she said.

Dyal loved the destinations--and the people he met--but the traveling was exhausting at times. Once, he was picked up at the airport in Melbourne, Australia, and assumed he'd be able to rest before doing any official duties.

Oh, no.

A crowd was waiting for him.

That started a little joke about Dyal that followed him through most of his career.

"They said, 'We just put a quarter in Bill, stand him up and he gives a speech,'" he said, smiling.

'Can't you keep a job?'

Dyal laughed often and easily during a recent interview. He's clearly been through the process many times, and he guides the interviewer through the early days of his life and along some of the highlights of his career.

He also hands out a resume because he knows no one could possibly keep up with all the things he's done.

A few years ago, he was speaking in Oregon, and the person who introduced him mentioned every position he'd ever held.

When Dyal took the podium, someone in the audience stood up and asked, "What's the matter, Mr. Dyal? Can't you keep a job?"

He just liked new challenges.


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Here's a look at the varied careers of Bill Dyal, 77, who was born in Texas, lived around the world and now calls Fredericksburg home. He lives in the city with Edie, his wife of 56 years.

1954-62: Baptist missionary in Central and South America.

1963-66: Director of Christian Life Commission, Nashville, Tenn..

1967-69: Peace Corps director, Colombia.

1970-71: Peace Corps regional director, North Africa, Near East and South Asia.

1971-80: Founding president, Inter-American Foundation.

1980: Advisor to president, Ford Foundation.

1981-86: President, AFS International.

1986-90: President, St. John's College, Annapolis, Md.

1995-97: Peace Corps director, Panama.