William Leonidas ‘Bill’ Nisbet, 101, owner of Nisbet’s Ladies Shop and Country Vogue Inc.

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William Leonidas Nisbet
William Leonidas Nisbet

William Leonidas ‘Bill’ Nisbet, 101, of Wilmington, died peacefully on Sunday morning, April 10, 2016, at Dosher Nursing Home in Southport. Bill was born in Sanford on November 10, 1914, the son of the late William L. Nisbet and Alice Williams Nisbet.

Bill was educated in Greenville city schools and graduated as valedictorian and president of the Senior Class of 1931. He attended East Carolina Teachers College (ECTC) and had the pleasure of playing on the first football team at ECTC, now East Carolina University.

In 1937, he began a lifetime career in retail by opening his first store in Greenville. He was drafted for military service in World War II and was discharged as a captain in the U.S. Air Force in 1946.

He moved to Wilmington and opened Nisbet’s Ladies Shop on North Front Street in 1946, the first of several locations Nisbet’s would occupy on Front Street in the years to come. After a short hiatus in 1967, he re-entered the retail business and opened as ‘Country Vogue Inc.,’ and later had several locations across eastern North Carolina. He retired from active business in 1977, but retained his interest in Country Vogue Inc., Myrtle Beach, S.C., operated by his son, Billy.

Bill was active in civic affairs as well. He served as president of the Wilmington Merchant’s Association and the Wilmington Rotary Club from 1953 to 1954. From 1965 to 1978, he was a member of the Redevelopment Commission of the City of Wilmington that planned and developed much of the riverfront in downtown Wilmington as it is today. In 1974, he was honored as president of the Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. On his 101st birthday, the Wilmington Rotary Club recognized him as a Paul Harris Fellow and an honorary member.

He was a lifetime member of the Carolina Yacht Club, an honorary member of the Cape Fear Country Club and a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Mildred Gibson Nisbet, three sisters, Nancy Bowden of Wilmington, Edith Holley of Greenville and Phoebe Kinlaw of Ahoskie; brother, James Alexander Nisbet of Sanford; and his beloved dog, Max.

He is survived by his two sons and their families including son, William (Billy) L. Nisbet and Gail H. Short of Southport; grandson, William L. Nisbet III of Myrtle Beach, S.C.; son Albert G. Nisbet, and his wife, Debra Tyndall Nisbet, and granddaughter, Tracy Rene Nisbet, of Sneads Ferry; sister, Margaret Kittrell, Greenville; and several nieces and nephews who loved him dearly.

Graveside services will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 14, in Oakdale Cemetery, Live Oak Section. The Rev. Dr. Thomas C. Barnett of St. John’s Episcopal Church will be officiating the service.

Special thanks goes to Jane and Jerry Shelton, who were his dear golfing friends over many years and to the men of the 21 Club, who he met with every Tuesday morning for coffee hour. Also, heartfelt thanks to Lynn D. Kripple, former daughter-in-law, for the devotion she gave him over the many years.

The family would also like to extend our heartfelt gratitude and sincere appreciation to the many people at Dosher Hospital in Southport that gave our ‘Pop’ such wonderful care. From the E.R. staff, nurses, dietary department, occupational therapy and physical therapy, you met his every need while giving him love and support. He thought you all were wonderful. We also thank the Dosher Nursing Home and Hospice for the care you gave him during his last days.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. John’s Episcopal Church, or to the charity of your choice.

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