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Charles Hamlin Nash: Oct. 8, 1921 – March 17, 2010 | Passages

Top photo: Charles Hamlin Nash as a Navy officer during World War II. Bottom photo: The retired port commissioner in 2004. - Nash family photos
Top photo: Charles Hamlin Nash as a Navy officer during World War II. Bottom photo: The retired port commissioner in 2004.
— image credit: Nash family photos

Charles Hamlin Nash
Oct. 8, 1921 – March 17, 2010

Charlie Nash died peacefully on March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day – at R House Care Home.

Charlie lived most of his 88 years right here in Friday Harbor, all within the same block. He was born in a home on the corner of Tucker Avenue and Guard Street, the eldest son of Albert M. Nash Sr. and Margaret McSorley Nash. He was followed by brother Albert Jr., sister Catherine and brother Kenneth.

Charlie’s parents ran the Friday Harbor Drug Store for many years. Charlie attended school in Friday Harbor, graduating in 1939. He attended the University of Washington and joined Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity and graduated in 1944 with a BA in geography and a minor in naval sciences, while serving in the NROTC as a naval officer from 1943-46.

After submarine school in Connecticut, he was assigned to the USS Finback during WWII. His expertise as an officer was recognizing enemy aircraft. These experiences prepared him for his license as third mate of ocean in 1947.

After service, he came home to Friday Harbor and worked as a bookkeeper and mail delivery man to the outer islands. He was a natural boatman and outdoorsman and would make life on the water his second home. At the age of 24, he ran a fleet of seiners to Shanghai, China. Charlie started fishing in Bristol Bay in 1961 and continued there until he was in his early 70s. He was an avid commercial fisherman in Puget Sound and Alaska for more than 50 years.

He met his wife, Betty Chevalier, in Friday Harbor after the war and they were married on June 16, 1948. It was cause for great celebration as these two multi-generational island families joined hands.

Charlie and Betty were very happily married and together raised four children: Nick, Kelly, Pat and Lisa. With growing family responsibilities, Charlie decided it was time to get a regular job. He became the postmaster in 1964 and retired in 1983. He took his vacation time and headed to Bristol Bay or out to the Salmon Banks where he really felt at home.

He was a leader of the annual chum salmon egg plant in Beaverton Valley Creek beginning in 1970. He is remembered most for his knowledge and surveys of the bald eagle, authoring a paper presented at the Bald Eagle Symposium, Seattle Aquarium. He was also invited to and attended the International Birds of Prey Symposium in Israel. For these efforts, he was nominated and awarded the Environmental Excellence Award, Individual Category, in 1977, presented by Sen. Warren Magnusson.

Charlie served the island community in many ways: as chairman of the San Juan Island Shoreline Master Plan Committee, member of the San Juan Island School Board, and board member of the Sailing Club and Power Squadron. He was a Cub Scout leader, past president of the Chamber of Commerce and the San Juan Historical Society, and commander of American Legion Post 163. He was a charter member of the San Juan Island Yacht Club and the San Juan Lions Club.

Charlie was aware of the changes facing the island, among them pending condominium development on the town’s shoreline and the lack of facilities for the fishing fleet and other boaters. He was instrumental in developing the Port of Friday Harbor, subsequently serving on the Port Commission for 27 years.

Charlie was very active in St. Francis Catholic Church, ushering for 50 years as well as boating the priests from island to island to celebrate Mass. In his later years, Charlie really enjoyed his growing family. He loved all of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, taking notice of each one and admiring their unique strengths and personalities. Charlie’s most rewarding accomplishment was his 61-year marriage to Betty, whom he loved and admired deeply.

He is survived by Betty; his four children and their spouses, Nick and Linnae Nash, Kelly Nash, Pat and Becky Nash, and Lisa and Jim Lawrence; grandchildren, Jason, Natalia, Michelle, Kyle, Mara, Kiersten, Jordan, Charles and Margaret; and eight great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a grandson, William Troy Nash, on Sept. 25, 2009.

Rosary will be recited Thursday, March 25, at 7 p.m., St. Francis Catholic Church.

Memorial Mass will be celebrated Friday, March 26, 1 p.m., at St. Francis Catholic Church. Graveside service will follow at St. Francis Cemetery, approximately 2 p.m.

Mullis Community Senior Center, 589 Nash St., will be open at 2:15 p.m. for a Celebration of Life.

Memorials may be made to the San Juan Historical Museum or St. Francis Catholic Church.

— Family of Charles Hamlin Nash

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