William Benton “Ben” Nash, Jr. died peacefully Monday, August 27, 2018, with his family by his side. Ben was born on December 12, 1955 to the late William Benton and Edna Williams Nash. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his wife, Jenna Thurston Nash. He is survived by his daughter Caroline Brooks Nash of Chicago, IL, his son, William Thurston Nash of Los Angeles, CA, and his sister and her husband, Nancy and Carl Steele of Oak Island, NC.
Those that knew Ben knew that he truly loved his church, his family, his friends, Christ School, Carolina, and sports. He and Jenna were devoted members to St. Benedict’s Anglican Catholic Church. During his illness, Terry Smith, a friend from the church, was instrumental in ensuring he could attend on the Sundays that he felt able. As his health declined, Father Robert Hart, his parish priest, brought communion to him each week. The support and love he received from his church brought him the comfort he needed as met the daily challenges he faced.
Ben treasured each family member, and through the ups and downs in the relationships, he still loved them. The life line in his family was his wife Jenna. The love, care and patience that Jenna displayed in supporting him was unwavering, and he was devoted to her. He was so proud of Caroline and Thurston's accomplishments. A family member or friend could find a voicemail from Ben talking about a play Caroline was in or Thurston’s recent exam in dental school. His love for them was what kept him going after Jenna’s death. Lee and Tom Shugrue played an important role in his life and he in theirs’ from the time he and Jenna began dating. He was always grateful for the relationship he held with Jenna’s cousin and her husband, Lissa and Dan Jensen. They became a significant support for him and his family. It mattered to Ben that he was a part of each cousin, aunt and uncle’s life. He would either leave a voicemail without the hello or good-bye, just the message, or on his Sunday afternoon travels through the state of North Carolina with Jenna, show up for a brief visit. That was a pleasure for him.
One can never mention Christ School without thinking of the numerous friendships that were established while he was there during his junior and senior years of high school. As Dan Stevenson, one of his classmates, stated, “Ben was the gardener in his friendships. He took the time to call or visit them to cultivate those relationships, and that caring was returned many times over.” This was evident in how everyone rallied around him during his most difficult times. There was a love for this school that bonded these boys and that bond continued when they became men.
Before there was a love for Christ School, a passion for the University of North Carolina was born by the time he was 6. It began with his father who was a graduate of UNC. As a family, they would travel to Chapel Hill on Saturdays to the football games spend the entire morning on Franklin Street, the afternoon at the game and dinner before they returned home. After the football season ended, the basketball season began. From that point on, his focus was on Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina-Charlotte his freshman year then transferred to Carolina when he became a sophomore. As always, he never was one to be without friends, and that special group was there for him when he and Jenna were married. In a conversation with Andy Brown, he said that Ben was always all in, be it Carolina, his friendships or sports, he was all in. He played a strong role in keeping them together.
Ben’s life was all about people and his relationship with them. From childhood friends from Monroe through his adult life and the many relatives he had from both families, each person mattered. Not only did these same people matter to him, but they matter to his family today, and we are greatly appreciative to them for their caring.
A memorial service to celebrate his life will be scheduled in December at Christ School in Arden, NC. In lieu of flowers, it was Ben’s request that memorials be made to: St. Benedict’s Anglican Catholic Church, 870 Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 or a charity of your choice.