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Letter to the Editor: Fond Memories of Joe Nason

The Westborough resident, who died recently at age 93, was a positive influence.

To the Editor:

Learning of the passing of life-long Westborough resident Joe Nason at age 93, brings back a flood of deep and special memories.

In the mid-1950s, when my family moved to Westborough (at the very end of the then new O’Neil Drive), the Nasons were among the first families we befriended. When my father died in a 1964 car accident, everyone in town rallied around us, none more so than Joe and Mary Nason.

Joe Nason was one of the most positive people I have ever met. He barely survived a Japanese POW camp after his plane was shot down in World War II, but he was never bitter. Joe and Mary even went back to the Pacific as Peace Corps volunteers.

Many memories of Joe run deep, but none more so than in 1970, when several of us Westborough High School grads, then in college, returned to town to organize meetings expressing our opposition to the Vietnam War. I vividly remember a well-attended session in the basement of the Congo Church (whose chancel bears a plaque in memory of my father). We took some pretty heavy audience flack about our views.

Near the end of that tough evening, Joe stood up and calmly, but forcefully, told the crowd that people thought John Adams and the other Founding Fathers were traitors, but history has proven that they were patriots. Joe said we students were patriots, too. I have never forgotten his support, and, just the memory of that evening 42 years ago, invokes a flood of appreciative tears.

I graduated from UMass the next year and went to Morocco in the Peace Corps. Soon after, my mother left Westborough and moved to Maine. In the intervening years, I have only come back to Westborough occasionally, for events like the funeral of our dear next-door neighbor Dr. Earl Reiman.

My most recent visit was in January 2011, when my brothers David, Jim and I buried our mother next to father at the Pine Gove Cemetery. Of course, Joe was there to support us, like he always was.

After high school, I was eager to leave Westborough, but, over the years, I have come to appreciate it in a much deeper way, especially how the community wrapped our family in its arms after my father died so tragically.

I own a home in New Hampshire, where my wife and I raised two sons, but we now live overseas where I am the country director for Peace Corps in Ukraine. Being so far way when you get the news of loss makes one even more thoughtful and appreciative.

Thanks, Joe -- and thanks Westborough, too.

Douglass P. Teschner (Jr.)
Kiev, Ukraine

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