Funeral services for Jere B. Nash Jr., age 89, will be 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at First Presbyterian Church, Greenville with Dr. William Robert Sharman officiating. He passed away peacefully on December 30, 2017, at his home in Greenville. Burial will follow in the Greenville Cemetery. Services are under the direction of Boone Funeral Home.
Jere was born November 7, 1928 in Greenville to Jere B. Nash, Sr. and Wilda Heard Nash. He graduated from Greenville High School in 1946 and obtained his undergraduate degree from Rhodes (Southwestern) College in Memphis in 1950. For the next two years, he served his country in the U.S. Army, including a year in Korea as an artilleryman. While in Korea during the war he began corresponding with a friend from Rhodes, Margie Boisen, who had graduated with him and then moved to North Carolina to complete a masters in music.
Following his discharge in January 1952, he asked Margie to marry him. She said yes, five months later they walked down the aisle together at Idlewild Presbyterian Church in Memphis, and for the next 65 years they lived in Greenville, raised a family of three sons, and contributed to their church and community. Margie died on April 30, 2017.
When Jere retired in 1998, he was president of Delta Implement Company, a Greenville-based group of stores in the Mississippi Delta that sell Case-IH farm equipment. Jere’s father was a co-founder of the business in 1925. For his entire adult life, Jere was a member of Greenville’s First Presbyterian Church, and he held, at one time or another, every office available to a lay person, including Clerk of the Session. In 1970, the city council appointed him to the board of trustees for the Greenville Public Schools at the same time the federal court had ordered the desegregation of the schools. For ten years, as a member of that board, he worked to make a newly integrated public school system a vital part of the community.
Margie and he helped to organize the Delta Music Association, Greenville Arts Council, and the Greenville Symphony. Jere also served as president of the United Way, Chamber of Commerce, and Boy’s Club and as a member of the Rhodes College Board of Trustees. He was the founder of the Greenville chapter of a national organization that promoted the exchange of high school students with foreign countries. The Salvation Army once named him Volunteer of the Year. In 1985, Margie and he jointly received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Rhodes College and in 2007 he joined with his wife and sister when the Nash family was honored to be the recipient of the Lifetime Contribution to the Arts Award in Greenville. In his retirement Jere tutored students at Trigg and Lucy Webb Elementary schools and was a devoted driver for the Wheels on Meals program.
While on the army boat to Korea, he visited the ship’s library and decided to read The Great Gatsby because he liked the title. That led to a love of F. Scott Fitzgerald for the rest of his life. Fitzgerald joined dancing with his wife, Italian Opera and Classic Cars as Jere’s avocations. For a number of years he owned a 1935 Packard.
For as long as any of his children can remember, our father was a proud member of the Rotary Club, serving as president of the Greenville chapter and as a district governor. He took to heart the Rotary oath: “service above self.” Jere Nash loved and served his country, his community, his church, and his family.
Survivors include his sister, Mary Virginia Nash Watson; his three sons: Jere Nash III (Holly Wagner) of Jackson, Louis Nash (Rose) of Oxford, and Joe Nash of Greenville; and his three grandchildren: Oliver Nash of Jackson, and Sarah and Bo Nash of Oxford. Jere’s father died in 1990 and his mother died in 1971.
The family will receive guests at the house afterwards. Gifts in memory of Jere Nash may be made to First Presbyterian Church in Greenville, Mississippi or Community Foundation of Washington County in Greenville, Mississippi.