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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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Other agencies asked Dyal to be their president, too.
AFS International called in 1981.
St. John's College in Annapolis followed in 1986.
"I never had to look for a job," he said. "One thing always flowed into another."
Dyal didn't know anything about the academic world and made that clear to board members from St. John's, a liberal arts college. One member told him the school had plenty of scholars; it needed a leader.
The previous administration had created some "disharmony" among the staff and community, said Jeff Bishop, vice president at St. John's.
"Bill really put that at ease and made everybody feel good about being at the college again," he said. "But I think that's Bill in a nutshell. He has this wonderful way of looking you in the eyes and smiling and befriending you immediately."
Dyal's tenure at the college was cut short when he developed a brain tumor in 1988. He suffers from some residual damage--dry eye and a deaf ear--"but I'm alive," he said, smiling.
After his recovery, he had one last hurrah with the Peace Corps. He directed Panama volunteers from 1995 to 1997. Then, he and Edie settled in Fredericksburg, near Kenmore Plantation and Gardens.
They both like living in the city and being close to their families. Edie Dyal keeps busy as a concert pianist--and giving lessons to the grandchildren--and both attend Fredericksburg Baptist Church.
"I'm happy in a church for the first time in a long time," he said.
"It's a place where you can go and feel truly loved," she said. "That's helped us feel at home, after living in so many different places."
To reach CATHY DYSON: