Nance, a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, covered the war for the Associated Press beginning in 1965, spending two years there as a reporter and photographer. He was named the AP’s bureau chief in the Philippines in 1968. While there, he began writing about the Tasaday tribe discovered in the rain forest in 1971.
Nance wrote several books about the cave-dwelling Tasaday tribe in the Phillipines, which, according to AP reports, he discovered in the rain forest in 1971. Through this work he also befriended aviator Charles Lindbergh. The Gentle Tasaday, published in 1975, is said to have catapulted the group to worldwide attention. His children’s book, Lobo of the Tasaday, was a Horn Book Award Honor Book of 1982.
“John Nance represented a generation of great AP reporters who covered the war in Vietnam and then went on to chronicle the incredible story of the Stone Age people in the Philippines,”said John Daniszewski, AP senior managing editor for international news, was quoted in his obituary. “He’s remembered as a gentleman and a wonderful raconteur, and he will be missed very much.”
Nance moved to Ohio in the late 1990s and worked as a writer in residence at the Thurber House, a nonprofit literary center and muesum that was the home of New Yorker cartoonist James Thurber. It was there he met his second wife, Sally Crane. Nance is survived by Crane, his children Gillian Nance (Robert Lyons) of Portland, Oregon, and Christopher Nance of San Diego; his stepchildren, Cameron MacPhail, Alastair MacPhail and Elinor MacPhail of Columbus; and his first wife, Joyce Nance, of Portland. Services were held on March 12 at the Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio.