I’ve been given the honor to write this special tribute to my “Pops,” Stephen Wayne Nash who unexpectedly and suddenly passed away, at age 65, on Wednesday, March 31, 2021. He will live forever in the hearts and memories of family and friends from all over. After the tears are gone, there will be stories about him told that are full of laughter. The words to describe him are hard to find because there are so many. He was such an incredible man.
He loved laying in the sun, listening to 70s Singers & Songwriters with his wife in the shade close by, and floating in the pool. He would stop and dance whenever a great song came on.
He loved packing up and heading to Palm Springs on the weekends. He would drive along the windmill filled desert highway listening to smooth jazz while holding his wife’s hand. He loved playing in the sun all day with his family and friends, then heading out to his favorite Mexican restaurant for the best carnitas. He never stopped talking about those carnitas, ever.
He was such a fierce competitor. His competitive banter made the games that much better. He was the best man to play water volleyball with, no matter what team you were on. He would raise his hand for a high five and have the biggest smile on his face after spiking the ball. He was happy.
He always had a joke for every moment. He never even had to think about it. It was like there was a rolodex of jokes in his mind always on hand. He never missed a moment to pull out a good dad joke.
His driving was a little adventurous. I often wondered if he secretly thought it was funny to scare us.
He loved his wife so much. It was a kind of love that we are solely put on this earth to experience. He loved just having her close by. I often picture them outside together, him in the sun and her in the shade. She was doused in sunscreen and he sun-lounged like a lizard. They would hold hands just to walk through the parking lot to the grocery store. He either held her hand or had his hand resting on her leg when he would drive. He would sometimes look over at her and sing words from a song on the radio and make her smile. He loved taking her on adventures. He wrote her the most beautiful poetry from his heart. He had a love for her like no other. He would tell me that she was the love of his life. Their adventures are forever.
He was so cute when he would ride his mower all over the property with his hat on. He was so proud to take care of his land. He planted fruit trees that he would tell us all about every time we would come over. He had a beautiful vegetable garden that he liked to brag about. It reminded me of his dad, Jim’s, garden. I bet he felt close to his dad when he gardened. He planted tulips and daffodils all around the trees that complimented the wildflowers perfectly.
He had a passion for photography. He took pictures of everything. He would always say that you have to take a million pictures to get ten good ones. He captured so many everyday moments and turned them into photography. He loved sitting on the porch with his family during a Texas lightning storm and taking pictures of the lightning. He would wait for just the right moment and capture magic in the sky. He was extremely proud when the photograph was published. I don’t think that it was just a picture of lightning to him. I think it was also the memory of that night to him. I think he looked at that picture of lightning and saw his family sitting on the porch laughing and talking with blankets wrapped around them. When he took a beautiful picture of a bird in the yard, I do not think it was just a beautiful picture of a bird in the yard to him. I think when he looked at the photo it was a day in the sun listening to music, making homemade hand-cranked ice cream and hula hooping with his family that he truly saw. It was always more than a photograph to him. It was a passion of life and memory.
He loved his animals too. His grandkids called it PawPaw and Nana’s farm. He was allergic to cats, but always had one cozied up on his lap, desk, or the chair next to him. He loved having them around. He was a sucker for his dogs too. He was such a softy when it came to his pups. He loved throwing the ball, frisbee, or swimming in the pool with them.
He was a wonderful dad. He would always look me in the eye and try to give me the best advice from his heart. Even though I may not have listened every time, he was always there to offer me guidance. He loved me just the way I was. He loved me no matter how different I was. He loved me no matter how difficult I was. He stuck with me through thick and thin. He loved me. He showed me what kind of dad I deserved.
He loved the mountains. He loved hiking up Forest Falls. Whenever we hiked, he would always hike way ahead. I secretly thought it was so he could have a longer break. He always acted like the hike straight up the mountain was the easiest thing in the world. He loved the smell of the mountain trees and views as far as you could see. He would always say, “We are mountain people.”
He loved his family so much. He was so proud of his children and grandchildren’s journeys. He was there through all their ups and downs to support them and guide them. He was proud to hear how excited his grandchildren were to tell him about their day. He was genuinely excited to attend recitals and taekwondo. He loved to cheer them on. He made sure that they saw how proud he was. He wanted them to know he was there to smile and love them just the way they are.
He said he was not scared. He was so brave. He was a man of strong faith. His strong hands and worn Bible were one of the many reasons his wife fell in love with him. He adamantly believed that we should never stop praying even when the Lord is not answering our prayers the way we want Him to. Don’t stop praying. He is now, and always will be, with us.