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Arthur Ralph Nash, owner of laundry equipment company, dies

DAVIS ISLANDS

It was pretty easy to pinoint the unhappiest periods of Arthur Nash's life.

One came in 1964. Mr. Nash had been living in Tampa for nine years, and his company transferred him to Cincinnati.

"It was winter," his son Mike said. "He stayed a few months and couldn't stand it, so he came back to Tampa."

He had been happily working for that company for 16 years. He wanted so badly to come back to Tampa that he left it and started his own company, Equipment Sales Inc., which sells laundry and dry cleaning machinery. It has been operating in the same location, on Morrison and MacDill avenues, for 57 years.

The other sad time in Mr. Nash's life was a weeklong period about 10 years ago. He was about 80 years old, still working every day, and a friend persuaded him to go on a week-long cruise. It was the first vacation Mr. Nash had ever taken in his working life.

"He hated it," his son Gary said. "He said it was like sleeping on an Army cot."

Mr. Nash passed away Oct. 16 in his home. He was 90. That weeklong cruise was not only his first vacation, but his last.

"He loved to work," Gary Nash said. "He worked every day. He never complained that he wasn't feeling well."

If he wasn't at the office, Mr. Nash was traveling. But it was always business travel.

"He never took vacations," Mike Nash said. "If he went to Las Vegas or Europe, it was for business. He liked to go to laundry conventions. Work was his joy."

His other joy was his family. And there wasn't much delineation between his work life and his family life.

Mr. Nash's wife, Agnes, who passed away 15 years ago, had been a homemaker and mother. Once their three sons were out of school, she went to work with her husband as a bookkeeper at Equipment Sales. Their sons later started working for the company, too. Gary and Mike and their families lived near Mr. Nash on Davis Islands.

Every weekend, the whole family would relax on lakefront property in Land O'Lakes.

It was sometimes difficult, living, working and relaxing together every single day. But no one ever though of changing the arrangement.

"We had our ups and downs," Mike Nash said. "But you work through it, because you're family, and that's the most important thing."

Mr. Nash was born in Chattanooga, Tenn., and attended the University of Cincinnati. It was in Cincinnati that he met his wife and began his career in the laundry equipment business.

He was an elder and a deacon at Hyde Park Presbyterian Church. He also was a member of the Downtown Rotary Club, the Committee of 100 and Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club.

He had been slowing down in recent years, his sons said. But he still never missed a day at work. He wasn't able to drive anymore, so he got a ride to the office and worked a full day every day.

One morning a couple of weeks ago, one of his sons went to his home and found Mr. Nash unconscious on the floor. He never regained consciousness and died five days later from a brain hemorrhage.

"He was lying between the bed and wall," Mike Nash said. "He probably fell while he was getting up to go to work."

Besides his sons Mike and Gary, Mr. Nash is survived by his son Arthur, seven grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

Marty Clear writes life stories about Tampa residents who have recently passed away. He can be reached at mclartampabay.rr.com.

Arthur Ralph Nash, owner of laundry equipment company, dies 10/22/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 21, 2011 6:57pm]
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