May 14, 1935 – November 27, 2020
On November 27, 2020 after a brief illness Julian Edward Nash embarked on that adventure that no one returns from. Born on May 14, 1935 in Slave Lake, AB, He grew up the youngest in a blended family. Firmein, Baptiste, Bernard and Peter the 4 L’Hirondelle brothers from his Mom’s first marriage soon left to enlist when Canada entered the second world war, as did his brother Fred Nash from his dad’s first marriage, shrinking the family down to brother Francis, sister Mary and “the baby” – years later he still felt a little irked by that label. Starting life in the middle of the great depression and growing up in a small town with not many employment opportunities must have played a big role in developing his entrepreneurship, his genius as improvising solutions to mechanical problems and an ability to fix just about anything with a piece of old inner tube and some baling wire. He went from driving truck for Ed Olney to operating a bulldozer on road construction jobs in the interior of BC, and it was in Fort St. John that he met a beautiful, smart schoolteacher named Jeni Tracz. They married in 1958 and started their new life together in an 8 foot wide mobile home that could be towed behind their International Harvester Truck in order to follow the construction jobs he was working on. When jobs got thin they moved to Slave Lake where he told Mom “I’ll shoot a moose in the winter and we can grow potatoes, so at least we won’t starve.”
Well, they got there in time for an oil boom, that required roads, which require gravel, and he knew where to find it. So they did not starve, but they still grew potatoes, so many potatoes…and he shot a moose. Almost every year. His kids don’t care if they ever eat moose again….even though they have fond memories of family time in an unheated garage with a dead animal and freezer wrap.
The two of them built a thriving business, both working long hours when it was needed and supporting each other, always a team. So when there was a little extra cash, the first thing they did was travel. Not surprising, since one of the first things he had done as a single young man, as soon as he had a little cash, was to get on a ship and go to Hawaii. The first family holiday was in 1965 to Mexico, with two pre-school children and Granny Nash, who was a pretty cool babysitter. Our first taste of independent travel, but not the last. Family Trips included Fiji, the Caribbean, Costa Rica, and Hawaii, always staying at apartment hotels, shopping at local markets, learning to cook locally available produce, usually with Granny Nash, and sometimes her friend Hilda Eben along. Later Mom and Dad travelled even farther afield, to countries that don’t even exist anymore – Like Yugoslavia. They also got their pilot’s licences and a little float plane to explore the northern part of Alberta, camping beside remote lakes and catching some very impressive fish.
Dad’s enthusiasm for travel, hunting, fishing and spending time with his family was a constant. His favourite comment at a family dinner was “These are the Good Old Days!”. He was right.
He was way more eager to spend money on travel, than on anything else, saying once “everything can be taken from you, except your memories”. So maybe, once age started stealing memories and independence, he didn’t want to be here anymore.
Still trying to come to grips with a really big hole in their lives are his wife Jeni, Son Edward and daughter in law Bonnie, daughter Janine and Son in Law John , Grandchildren Izak Nash, Lexi Nash, Erin Vitt (Tyler), Eric Schueller, his sister Mary, and a multitude of nieces and nephews, great, great great and regular.
We are so grateful for the compassionate care he received at the Slave Lake Health Care Centre.
A celebration of life will be held when the lake thaws and we can all travel again.