Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Grandpa John Nash's Obituary/Eulogy

I was honored to write the remembrance for Ed's Grandpa Nash, a lovely man married 67 years to his sweetheart, Grandma Donna Nash.

John Robert Nash

John Robert Nash was born November 2, 1924 in Cleveland, Ohio. Some of John’s great family left behind include his beloved wife of 67 years, Mary Donna Nash, his three children, Scott Nash, Trenna Curry, and the much loved daughter Cindy Jan Fitzmaurice, who died young, leaving behind the legacy of her beautiful spirit and gorgeous laugh, as well as her cherished son, John and Donna’s grandson, Scotty Fitzmaurice, and her husband Greg.

Other grandchildren include Kari Gagne, Lori McDowell, Johnny Curry, and Kristi Christenson. John was blessed with many great-grandchildren, including Julia, James, Kayleen, Dakota, Ian, Lola, Ever, Christan, Reef, Jacob, Austin, and baby Carson.

John joined the Navy at age 18, and he left as Seaman First Class, E6, USNR. He worked and traveled for General Dynamics, putting in missile sites. He went to night school to obtain a diploma, while working during the day. Everytime his family was moved for work, John took his children’s hands in his own and found a new church. A devoted Christian, John found great solace in the church fellowships that anchored his family to each new town. Regardless of life circumstances–his own or yours–John was always happy to see you, and had that knack of making a person feel that he was specifically glad you were there. He is deeply missed by family and friends.

As a young man, John met his wife-to-be, Donna, where she was working at a movie theatre. They had a little bit of a romantic entendre, where Donna thought maybe John didn’t really fancy her, and John thought maybe she didn’t fancy him. John finally came up to Donna and said, “Would you go out with me?”, and Donna said yes. It was soon after that John proposed. Donna wasn’t sure, but John was, and “thank God he was” says Donna, because they were married in a loving partnership for 67 years. John and Donna were not only romantic partners, not only parents and grandparents, but they were best friends. They truly enjoyed each other’s company, and spent most of their free time together traveling, camping, attending church, going to lunch or dinner with family and friends, and enjoying their other family–their Boston terriers. Sparky was the dog left behind at John’s death, and Sparky joins Donna at home in grieving the loss of their beloved John.

John was an active, engaged, smart, brave, and hard working man of faith. He could be a snazzy dresser, as well, and often wore a smart cap and cardigan to family gatherings. He took great pride in providing for his family and  He loved camping with his beloved wife and grandchildren. From the time they were old enough to hold a marshmallow on stick, John took the grandkids desert and mountain camping. Not only were these times special to John and Donna, but they also created irreplaceable, life long happy memories for the youngest of the generation.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were also particularly special times in John’s life. After John’s children were grown and had children of their own, the family celebrated Christmas Eve with a “progressive dinner” which included the entire family going to two or three different houses, eating at each house and looking at Christmas lights on the way. Eventually they’d all end up at John and Donnas where the grandkids would usually act out skits or read from Christmas stories or sing songs. The house would be decorated to the nines, and John loved all of it: the stockings, the photos, the candy dishes, the tree, the joyful noise of a large and loving family.

John’s grandchildren were blessed to have a involved, fun loving grandpa who was a steady, dependable presence of love in their life. John had a mischevious grin and a love for a great laugh.The grandchildren were all delighted with his turqoiuse Toyota pickup truck that was outfitted with a special horn, a horn he’d be sure to honk every chance he could.

John loved to cook and was the main cook for the sweet twosome of he and his wife in all their later years. Waking in the morning, Donna would be greeted with John’s cheerful smile, asking, “What will we be having this morning?” meaning, what can I make you for breakfast? His omelets were especially delicious. On the holidays he would cook an entire feast for the family, refusing offers of help as he prepared each dish.

John and Donna loved to visit Laughlin, California and gamble, and John seemed to have an extremely lucky hand, because he usually won! Some trips would be John and Donna alone, and other times they’d be accompanied by one or more of their children and their spouses. Those trips hold many special memories for John’s family.

In the last years of his life as he grew ill, John was quieter, but he maintained the twinkle in his eye, and his playful spirit would shine through. He continued attending family events with Donna, and would often sit silently as the party transitioned, with a smile and a contented look on his face. The last family gathering at Easter, Donna asked John if he had anything he wanted to say. It is telling of the man and his spirit that he simply placed a kiss to his hand and waved it outward to the circle of his family, and said only, “Love.” John loved deeply and is deeply loved, and deeply missed. His life was a testament to faith, family, hard work and love.
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