Cover photo for Charles Nash's Obituary
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1932 Charles 2007

Charles Nash

March 15, 1932 — July 15, 2007

NASH, Charles Presley

Born March 15, 1932 in Sacramento, California, beloved husband, father, step-father, grandfather and valued colleague and friend passed away from complications from pneumonia on July 15, 2007.

Charlie was a 4th generation Californian and a second generation Berkeley Bear. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 1952 with a BS in Chemistry and received his PhD in Chemistry from UCLA. Professor Nash served the UC Davis campus with distinction throughout his tenure from 1957 until he retired in 1993.

First and foremost at UC Davis, Charlie Nash was a teacher. While his broad contribution to the campus may be better known for his work with the Academic Senate and Faculty Association, those who knew Charlie knew of his huge love of teaching and his commitment to provide the best education possible to the students. He taught the foundations of chemistry to scores of students over the years. His two sabbaticals took him to The Imperial College in London and the United States Air Force Academy.

Of the many distinctions of a great career, Professor Nash was perhaps most proud of his selection for a campus Distinguished Teaching award in 1977. More recently, a Spring 2007 article in the UC Davis Magazine called Lessons Learned from Chem 5 brought him huge pleasure he had made a difference.

Charles Nash made a difference in everything he did. During the 1970s, while Letters & Sciences Chair, he successfully campaigned to retain and re-craft the student Honor Code. It has remained an essential part of the undergraduate education on the campus ever since.

Professor Nash served the Davis Faculty Association in numerous ways from 1992 onward. He was a member of the Board, served as Chair for a number of years, and was elected Vice President for External Relations of the Council of UC Faculty Associations, a position he held from 1996 until his death.

Due to this long service, he was well-qualified to conduct Davis Faculty Association forums to assist faculty in finding their way thru the merit and promotion briar patch. He frequently counseled individual faculty members and assisted them with their personnel cases, often testifying in court on their behalf.

As the Vice President for CUCFA, in 1996, he opposed legislation banning faculty members from using their own books as texts in their classes. In 1998-99, he was instrumental in obtaining $10M for library print collections at UC along with $20M to replace obsolete equipment in the teaching laboratories.

Charlie was interested in policy, but he had a unique talent to apply policies in a way that would serve the interests of both the University and University personnel.

Over several years in the late 1990s, he exerted great effort to establish the rights of faculty to their own intellectual property, including sponsoring DFA forums, criticizing the administrations position, and going to court to sue on-line note takers for violation of faculty ownership of their lectures. His most notable effort likely was his collaboration with the California Faculty Associationthe Sacramento State University faculty unionto enact intellectual property rights legislation that was signed into law.

Charlie valued the contribution of people regardless of their title. He backed up that attitude with time and energy on issues that he felt were important. His work with the Academic Federation, an organization that represents non-Senate faculty, had a positive impact on personnel peer review procedures for non-Senate faculty. Also during his retirement years he worked on several curricular projects. He negotiated an agreement over the teaching of remedial English with the community colleges to assure testing of the students after their course work. He also believed that the University had an important role to play in preparation of public school science teachers. He worked with the Department of Letters & Science, UCD Division of Education and the Community College to develop more effective pathways to attract and retain undergraduates interested in teaching science.

In addition to his service to the University, he was active in the community. He was on the Board of Directors for the League of Women Voters, Secretary of Sigma Xi, and Treasurer of the UC Davis Emeriti Association.

Charlies personal life provided him as much or more satisfaction than his professional life. During his 44 year marriage to Lois Brown Nash, they raised three children and traveled extensively, including trips to New Zealand, China, South America, Europe and throughout the United States.

Following Lois death in 1999, Charlie assumed her position on the Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of Davis where he met fellow board member Clinton Congdon. They were married in 2002 after a 99 day courtship, and his last years were filled with great love and joy.

While his interests ranged from state-wide campus issues to preserving academic rights, he drew equal pleasure from simple activities collecting leaded cut crystal, watching his grandchildren play soccer, petting his cat or listening to a wonderful piece of jazz music. He delighted in tutoring his stepson Collin in math and was always ready to teach.

Charles Nash was a unique combination of intelligence, determination, tenacity and caring. He will be greatly missed.

Charlie is survived by his wife Clinton, children Nancy Holl, Sandra Clark, and James Nash, stepchildren Maya and Dane Garnica, and Collin Nash, and grandchildren Christopher, Jeffrey and Sarah Nash and James and John Holl. Funeral services will be held Thursday, July 19, 2007 at 10:30 A.M. at the Veterans Memorial Center with a reception to follow. Interment will be held at Davis Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the College of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Charles Nash, please visit our flower store.


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