Monday, November 24, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;60.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/ra.png;2014-11-24 11:08:51
Monday, August 4, 2014

Nash remembered in Nashua as family man, business tycoon

By JIM HADDADIN

Staff Writer

NASHUA – Even as a child, Gerald Nash was on the path to being a successful entrepreneur.

When he was about 10 years old, his daughter said, Nash began selling soap to make extra money. He reinvested the profits to buy a red wagon, and when he got older, Nash used the wagon to deliver homemade popcorn balls to the workers building Nashua’s Holman Stadium, selling them for 5 cents a piece. ...

Sign up to continue

Print subscriber?    Sign up for Full Access!

Please sign up for as low as 36 cents per day to continue viewing our website.

Digital subscribers receive

  • Unlimited access to all stories from nashuatelegraph.com on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Access nashuatelegraph.com, view our digital edition or use our Full Access apps.
  • Get more information at nashuatelegraph.com/fullaccess
Sign up or Login

NASHUA – Even as a child, Gerald Nash was on the path to being a successful entrepreneur.

When he was about 10 years old, his daughter said, Nash began selling soap to make extra money. He reinvested the profits to buy a red wagon, and when he got older, Nash used the wagon to deliver homemade popcorn balls to the workers building Nashua’s Holman Stadium, selling them for 5 cents a piece.

Nash, a business mogul who became one of the most successful real estate developers in New Hampshire, continued making those popcorn balls with his children long after he relied on them for his livelihood, gathering with family each Christmas to mix together molasses, popcorn and sugar, mold the treats into 3-inch balls and tie them up with a ribbon, delivering them to his relatives and friends.

Those who knew Nash were treated to one more serving of his memorable popcorn balls at the Radisson in Nashua on Sunday as dozens gathered to celebrate his life. The popcorn treats served as a reminder not only of Nash’s business acumen, but of the warmth he showed family and friends.

“He worked, but he was working for his family,” daughter Debra Nash said. “All the times that he was late at night or, you know, weekends with things, it was all for family. He dedicated himself to us.”

Nash, who died July 25 at age 90, was remembered Sunday as a community booster and hard-working family man who survived the perils of military service in World War II to build a thriving development company, active in both New Hampshire and Florida.

A Nashua native, Nash began his career working for his father at Nashua Paper Box Company, eventually buying out the business with his brother.

He went on to partner with developer Sam Tamposi, Sr. in the 1960s, and together, the pair helped to support a renaissance of business activity around the region, enticing companies such as Digital Equipment, Kollsman Instruments and Anheuser Busch to southern New Hampshire.

Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau said Nash was among a group of business leaders who laid out a vision that allowed Nashua to diversify its economic base and recover from an industrial decline.

“I consider him the founding father of keeping Nashua strong, you know? He was one of a group of people that, we’d all be blessed to have more like him every generation,” Lozeau said.

Born in 1923, Nash was the fifth of Ralph Waldo Emerson Nash and Lillian Rachel Nash’s six children. He attended high school in Detroit while living with a sister and served with the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division during World War II.

After leaving military service, Nash met his future wife, Lucille, while taking classes at Keene State College. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business from Boston University, and the couple moved to Trigate Farm in Hudson, where they resided for 62 years.

Nash’s business triumphs, his sense of humor and his devotion to his six children were on display Sunday, evidenced by photographs and memorabilia laid out across the function hall at the Radisson.

One one table, a photograph of baseball legend Ted Williams was on display, thanking Nash for his military service. It was accompanied by a Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed on Nash in 1996 by the Ted Williams Museum in Florida, which he helped to found.

Another table showed Nash’s face on an oversized $20 bill. Beside it was a stained glass window on an easle – the product of one of his hobbies.

Photos cycling on a projector showed Nash on family trips to Europe, along with highlights from his business and political activity in the 1970s and 1980s. In one frame, Nash was standing beside former U.S. Sen. Robert Dole, who explored a presidential run in 1979 with Nash as the national chairman of his exploratory committee.

Like some others in attendance Sunday, Nancy Caron came to know Nash through his business dealings. Caron, now of Hudson, was working for Nashua Trust Company when the firm was directed by Sam Tamposi, Sr. Caron said Nash, who frequently stopped into the bank, was a family man who set an example of how to work to improve the community.

Julie Hudon, another former Nashua Trust employee, said Nash was always professional and easy to deal with when he conducted his business with the bank in the 1980s. Hudon remembered Nash as being well-dressed and “top of the line.”

“He was always a first-class gentleman,” she said.

Others, such as Jim Girtatos, of Hollis, came to know Nash through Nash’s children. Girtatos, who hunts with members of the family, said Nash was a “legend in his own time” for his business skill.

“He was the innovator and the catalyst of that empire, and the boys over there are the gatekeepers,” he said.

Neighbor John “Mandoe” Frenette said Nash was a good guy who always made him smile.

“He was always happy,” he said. “If he liked you, you’ve got a friend for life.”

Among those in attendance Sunday were Harrison and Lorraine Coleman, of Novi, Michigan, who traveled to New Hampshire to pay their respects.

Harrison Coleman shipped out to Europe with Nash while the pair were serving in the 10th Mountain Division, landing in Naples on Christmas Eve, 1944. He and his wife grew close to Nash’s family during reunions after the war and trips overseas.

They described Nash as a “man’s man” who overcame all of the challenges he faced.

“There wasn’t a thing that he could think that he wanted to do that he didn’t do,” Lorraine Coleman said. “He just did everything he wanted to do because he knew it could be done.”

Harrison Coleman, 90, recalled joining Nash in Italy to watch as researchers from Texas A&M University scanned the depths of Lake Garda for a sunken military vehicle. During another gathering, Nash helped advise the Colemans to purchase several investment properties, saying they would provide a financial cushion for subsequent generations.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Lorraine Coleman said. “Taking care of your family.”

Despite her father’s work ethic, Debra Nash said Gerald Nash was dedicated above all to his children. She remembered family vacations to the Atlantic Ocean and the Lakes Region of New Hampshire each summer. Nash also gathered his family together each Sunday, sometimes taking trips to her grandmother’s house or visiting nearby parks.

Nash’s business accomplishments were ultimately a tribute to his family, she said.

“He was the best dad in the world,” she said. “I have to say that. Out of everything that he accomplished, he was the best dad in the world. You couldn’t have asked for somebody better.”

Jim Haddadin can be reached at 594-6589 or jhaddadin@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Haddadin on Twitter (@Telegraph_JimH).