Jim Nance, long-time Boca Grande and Cashiers, N.C. resident, passed away peacefully on January 14, 2019 at his home in Englewood, embraced by the love of his life – his wife, June.
Jim was born in Siloam Springs, Arkansas on August 22, 1927, the son of Jesse Carroll and Mae Marre Nance. Jim attended Louisiana State University, receiving a B.S. in physics and an M.S. in nuclear physics. He also was an AEC Fellow at the Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology. He served in the U.S. Navy as a navigator in World War II and in 1955 was the reactor flight engineer on the first twelve B-36H test flights of the world’s first airborne reactor.
Jim enjoyed a stellar career, beginning in 1952 at the Fort Worth division of General Dynamics Corporation as project manager in special nuclear projects. Moving on to become director of reactor operations at the Venezuelan National Institute for Scientific Investigations, he later returned to General Dynamics as director of Project ORION and Defense Systems division at General Dynamics, advancing to director of special products division at the Gulf/General Atomic division. In 1969, Jim became president and general manager of Litton Bionetics, Inc. in Bethesda, Md. He served throughout his remaining career as corporate vice president and Medical Group executive with Litton Industries, Inc., president & CEO of Bionetics Research, Inc. and executive vice president of Organon Teknika Corporation. He retired in 1989 as chairman of the board of Bionetics Research, Inc.
Jim was very active in serving on trade boards and councils of his industry. He served as a member of the Technical Advisory Board of the South Carolina Research Authority; was a member of the 1986 United States People-to-People delegation to the People’s Republic of China; Biotechnology Management; chairman of the Montgomery County, Maryland Economic Advisory Council; and president of the National Association of Life Sciences Industries.
He was a scholar, avid outdoorsman, world traveler, accomplished wood craftsman and enthusiast of tennis, skiing, sailing, and scuba diving. He obtained his small-aircraft pilot and yacht captain licenses.
Jim is survived by his devoted wife of 50 years, June; by his son, Eric (Chikae) and three daughters, Jennifer Nance, Kathy Sessions (Barry) and Laura Blanc (Marc); and his grandchildren, Alana Nance, Lindsey Sessions, and Kelly Carroll (Josh)
All who knew Jim will miss his profound wisdom, wit and insight, wonderful storytelling and keen intelligence. He set a life-long example of hard work, love for his family and many friends, and devotion to his country, and he will long be remembered for his service, humor and enjoyment of good times with loved ones at his cherished lakeside and seaside homes.
A private celebration for family and loved ones is planned. In lieu of flowers, please honor Jim by making a donation to the Nature Conservancy, Wounded Warrior Project or charity of your choice.