Joseph Gates Nason , 93
WESTBOROUGH - Joseph Gates Nason died October 12, 2012 at UMass Hospital at the age of 93. In a sense this was the second time Nason had died since he was declared "presumed dead" by the U.S. Navy when his dive-bomber was shot down by anti-aircraft fire over a Japanese airstrip on Bougainville in 1943. Nason avoided capture for a week, but was eventually caught and imprisoned for two years in Rabaul, New Britain. There were over sixty allied prisoners, mostly American airmen, and only seven survived the horrible conditions. In 1987 Joe wrote and published a book "Horio, You next Die!" a memoir of his life as a POW.
Nason was born in Worcester Memorial Hospital and reared in Westborough where his parents Lucy and Noah, were lifelong residents. Joe attended Westborough School graduated from Pawling School, Pawling NY and Worcester Academy in 1938. He matriculated at Dartmouth College receiving his BA degree. After WWII Joe graduated from Loyola University's School of Law (LA, CA). He became a member of the California, Massachusetts and Maine bars.
He worked as a corporate lawyer at State Mutual Life Assurance Co from 1950-1982. He retired with the title of Vice President and Assistant Secretary his work involved private placements. Among the best known of his loans were: Russell Stover Candies, Rival Mfg Co., McDonald's and even Playboy
In addition, he was associated with the Westborough Savings Bank from 1950 to the present day he retired in 1994 as Chairman of the Board of Trustees and since has enjoyed the status of Trustee Emeritus.
Joe and his wife, Mary, volunteered for the Peace Corps in 1977 and were assigned to Saipan. Mary worked as a nurse and Joe in a number of legal offices for the government. They returned to the states in December of 1978 when Mary became ill.
Nason was a 40 year member of the Association of Life Insurance Counsel and served on the Westborough Finance Committee, the Veterans' Housing Committee, the Board of Trustees of the Library and on the School Sites and Facilities Committee of which he was the Chairman. The later committee was instrumental in acquiring the Aaronson property, now the site of the Westborough High School.
Joe and Mary had summer residence on the Maine coast at Round Pond. Joe was a lifelong sportsman and played basketball, football and baseball in school and tennis, golf, sailing, skiing, hunting and fishing. He was a dedicated jogger for over 40 years.
Joe was married for over fifty years to Mary (Ostendorf) Nason who predeceased him in 2001. He leaves a sister, Phyllis Gelb of CA, and two children: Kathleen Rastad of AL and Steven Nason of UT. Two grandchildren: Michael Rastad and Jason Rastad, four great-grandchildren Jessica, Thomas, Alec, and Alissa; nephews and nieces.
His funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, October 16, at 10:30 A.M. in St. Luke the Evangelist Church, 70 West Main St., Westborough. Burial, with military honors, will follow in Pine Grove Cemetery. There are no calling hours.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to St. Luke the Evangelist Church Memorial Fund, 70 West Main St., Westborough, MA 01581
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Rand-Harper-Pickering Westborough Funeral Home, 62 West Main St.
Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Oct. 12 to Oct. 14, 2012