A&M-Texarkana scholarship established in honor of Joyce Eyster Nantze


The family and friends of Joyce Eyster Nantze have established a new endowed scholarship at Texas A&M University-Texarkana in honor of her memory.


The Joyce Eyster Nantze Endowed Scholarship is designed to recognize new incoming freshmen who plan to major in biology at A&M-Texarkana. Recipients must have a 3.0 grade-point average and an ACT score of 25 or higher.


Joyce Eyster Nantze was a student of living things. She grew up on a family farm, learning about livestock and crops – from cattle and dairy cows to winter wheat and cotton. From a very early age, she was fascinated with studying all these and more. She collected butterflies with her net, and identified flowers found in the fields.  And of course she read voraciously all her life.


As a young woman, Mrs. Nantze continued her education at the college level. First, at Messiah College in Pennsylvania – and later completed a degree in biology at the University of New Mexico. Never satisfied with enough knowledge, she then completed her Blood Bank Specialist training at Parkland Hospital in Dallas in 1978 – one of only about 1,500 worldwide at that time.


Mrs. Nantze used her Specialist in Blood Bank training to help save thousands of lives while she worked at Wadley Regional Medical Center in Texarkana – and later at LifeShare Blood Centers in Shreveport. She not only did critical testing in the laboratories, but also devoted herself to teaching her skills to others. Today there are dozens of her students who have passed the registry exams to become medical technologists like Mrs. Nantze, and others whom she trained for the SBB registry. Her students are in evidence from Texarkana to Shreveport to California to North Carolina.


Upon her retirement, Mrs. Nantze became active with volunteer groups. She was a member of Texas Master Naturalists and of Texas Master Gardeners.  Through these groups, she provided her service and expertise to benefit the Texarkana area. The beds of Texas native plants and flowers atop the dam at Lake Wright Patman are her work, each plant meticulously hand labeled.


Mrs. Nantze’s husband, Derrell Nantze, is Manager at Nantze, Inc., a data and electrical contracting firm that has been active in the region since 1969.  Nantze, Inc. offers a wide range of data and electrical services to clients in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.


The Nantzes have two daughters and a son-in-law, Sarah Turner of Garland, Texas, and Laurie and Noel Williamson of Plano, Texas; one goddaughter, Beletu Tadele of Durham, North Carolina; three grandsons, Ethan and Sterling Williamson of Plano, Texas, and Abben Fasil of Durham, North Carolina; one granddaughter, Helina Fasil of Durham, North Carolina.


“It is the hope of Joyce’s family and many friends that certain future students at A&M-Texarkana will be of a kindred spirit – wishing both to learn and to serve. We pray God’s richest blessings on such a one,” Mr. Nantze said in establishing the scholarship.


Those who wish to honor Mrs. Nantze’s memory with a contribution to the Joyce Eyster Nantze Endowed Scholarship may contact LeAnne Wright, associate vice president for University Advancement, at LeAnne.Wright@tamut.edu or (903) 223-3078.

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