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Bill Boyce, builder of homes, dies at 89

Mr. Boyce is credited with laying the foundation for county building trends.

Published February 23, 2007


NEW PORT RICHEY - Bill Boyce, a pioneering home builder who carved out some of West Pasco's best-known neighborhoods, died Wednesday Feb. 21, 2007 at Community Hospital. He was 89.

On Mr. Boyce's resume are thousands of homes bought by nearly four decades of sunshine-seeking retirees. His company's West Pasco subdivisions - including Colonial Hills, Gulf Highlands and Tanglewood Terrace - now represent established communities in a county that has seen its growth shift to areas like Wesley Chapel.

"He was just a big part of making Pasco what it is," said Walt Casson, a New Port Richey resident who worked as an engineer on Mr. Boyce's projects.

Mr. Boyce was also among the last of a generation of Pasco developers who shaped the county at a time when local governments placed few limits on what builders could do.

Those developers put together a set of voluntary building standards before the county instituted codes and were also responsible for building the first water systems in a county that had previously relied on wells and septic tanks, recalled Joseph Narkiewicz, former executive director of Pasco Builders Association.

"It's like the passing of an era," said Narkiewicz. "He laid the foundation for housing trends in Pasco."

A native of Tennessee and Ohio, Mr. Boyce moved to Pasco nearly 40 years ago from California, where he and his father, B.E. Boyce, were developers.

With him came the late Gene Werner, who became vice president of Boyce Built Homes and Rancho Del Ciervo.

Part of their legacy is now at Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park off Scenic Drive. The developers sold the 1,700 acres of undeveloped coastal property to the state at a discounted price.

Not all was always well between Mr. Boyce and the county government.

In the early 1980s, Pasco officials discovered that the Colonial Hills sewage plant Mr. Boyce had sold them contained an underground drainage pipe that was siphoning off wastewater, giving the illusion of greater efficiency than the facility actually had. The county was poised to sue Mr. Boyce, but the developer settled the matter by donating land and money.

But his former colleagues and friends say Mr. Boyce's legacy is that of an astute and benevolent businessman.

"He was a man of his word," said Casson. "He paid his bills, paid them on time, and he kept his commitments."

Jodie Tillman can be reached at (727) 869-6247 or

[Last modified February 23, 2007, 07:22:31]

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