Memories of a gifted friend

Friday, January 18, 2013

Many people in Nevada are feeling the loss of a friend following the death of Charles Nash. The Cottey staff and faculty have their special memories and words of appreciation for the professor emeritus of English who had been with the college since 1973. But for many he was more than a popular professor, he was a friend.

The community of Nevada, especially those involved with the library and musical events, are remembering his leadership in the Friends of the Library and in the Community Council for the Performing Arts choir and other productions.

Various neighborhoods in Nevada are lauding his and his wife Ginny's work in restoring old houses into pleasant residents that enhanced several different areas of the community.

I share in all of these appreciative memories, but what I will miss the most is his writing skill and support for others of us who have endeavored to join him in the ranks of published authors and columnists.

His columns ranged from humorous to political to heart breaking. His letters to his dead wife could not be read without a tear in your eye but also a smile on your face. They communicated the strong relationship between Chuck and Ginny.

Other columns helped us learn to know and love their daughter who was a source of much pride and affection from both of her parents.

He felt free to express his political beliefs in the columns. I envied his feeling of freedom that enabled him to write openly. With my 'minister's wife' persona I never feel free to make any political statements, especially when I see by statistics in the paper that mine are often in the minority for my prescient.

One time he gave me the compliment of paraphrasing my "Middle Age Plus" title by writing an "Old Age Minus" column of his own. But he showed his appreciation of my attempts in other more direct ways.

A telephone call from him commenting on one of my columns made the day (or week) for me. I had seen his name on the poster from the Missouri Writers' Guild listing of authors from Missouri before I had ever had anything published since my Junior High essay on being "Twenty Thousand Leagues Beneath the Bedcovers."

I pointed out to those who were near me that Charles Nash was a resident of my home town. He made me proud. But when I did get some small recognition as an author I was very proud that he expressed support and appreciation also.

I hope his columns have been preserved and could be put in a book for us to read again and again. I am sure that his hundreds of students and friends through the years would rush to get a copy.

Until that happens, we will keep the memory of all of his and Ginny's contributions to our lives alive in our hearts and conversations. He often expressed his love for his adopted town. Nevada residents return that same love for its adopted scribe.