KARAHAN, Necmettin Oktay "Nash" passed from this life into eternal peace and joy on November 12, 2020, at age 94 in Antalya, Turkey, after a serious fall and its complications. Nash was born in Kayseri, Turkey on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1926. Nash emigrated from Turkey to the United States in 1952 on a ship with a final course past the Statue of Liberty. Like millions of immigrants before him, he disembarked at Ellis Island. In 1957, he stood proudly and took the solemn oath as a naturalized United States citizen. Nash was a certified merchant marine engineer after he received an honorable discharge from the Turkish Navy. During his naval service, he competed in military boxing matches and became Turkey's national boxing champion. On his first merchant marine shore leaves in the United States, elite boxing promoters and managers discovered Nash and encouraged him to return to compete full-time in professional boxing, and so he did. He was honored and proud to become lead sparring partner to world heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano (their Grossinger's sparring match and training session is on YouTube). Nash also competed in exhibition bouts with future heavyweight champion Joe Louis, boxing great Archie Moore (Nash dropped him with a left hook in a sparring session), and champion Danny Nardico in Nash's last pro bout at Tampa's historic sports and entertainment venue, Fort Homer W. Hesterly Armory in 1953. Nash left boxing with a 5-4 pro record and began a three year wrestling stint under the alias "Ali Baba the Mad Turk" and "The Red Shadow." He also fell in love with Tampa, Florida during his boxing and wrestling bouts there. After his stint in wrestling, Nash and his late wife Elaine made their home in Tampa and were blessed with three children, Jay, Lisa, and Ronald. Nash also founded the successful Nashco Janitorial Supply Co. on N. Howard Avenue in historic West Tampa, where his children Jay and Lisa often worked after school and during summers. Nash quickly traded with and befriended his nearby business neighbors, including the Alessi, Licata and Salcines families Nash maintained his ties to wrestling and made many guest referee appearances at Friday Night Wrestling at The Armory with his young son Jay often in attendance. In 1971, President Richard M. Nixon appointed Nash to a Tampa consular assignment as Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Turkey. He served until 1983, assisting Turkish citizens living in or visiting Florida, Georgia and Alabama. With relish and pride, Consul General Karahan introduced Turkish culture and cuisine to Tampeños, and he introduced visiting Turkish dignitaries to his adopted American culture. Nash, ever grateful for his business successes, became an active member of Tampa's Sertoma International service club and the University of Tampa Minaret Society. Nash retired from Nashco in 1983. Nash was later married to Betty Karahan for 32 years until her passing in 2006. They had briefly lived in Hayesville, North Carolina. Nash returned to his homeland in 2007 and settled in Antalya, where he met and married the love of the remainder of his life, Asuman, his loyal best friend, comforter and caretaker until his passing. Nash was preceded in death by his infant son, Ronald; his father, Mehmet Irfan; his mother, Zehra; his sisters, Hikmet Ozel and Nevin Cetinkaya; and his brother, Sadettin Karahan. He is survived by his loving wife, Asuman, and her sons, Murat and Aktug Yanpar of Antalya, Turkey; his son, Jay Karahan of Houston, Texas; grandson, Jason of Hickory, North Carolina, and Jay's wife Cynthia Doerr of Houston, Texas; his daughter, Lisa Tomalin and her sons, Kevin and Kyle of New Jersey and New York; his sister, Ulunay Cetinler of Izmir Turkey; his nephew, Steve Oppenheim and nieces, Vicki Schnurr, Toni Ely, and Lori Fitzgerald, of Tampa and Georgia; and his numerous cousins, nieces and nephews throughout Turkey and the United States. Following the singing of the funereal azan Sela at a city mosque in the Antalya seaside centrum, Nash was laid to rest on the day of his passing by his son, stepsons, and close family and friends, in keeping with all the Islamic traditions of ceremonial ablution, prayer, and interment. Nash's family gives heartfelt thanks to the beautiful City of Tampa and its many dear citizens who warmly welcomed Nash and his family; his many Tampa friends many of whom also emigrated for new lives in the US; the many helpful public officials in Tampa and other Florida cities who kindly assisted him in his consular duties, especially his dear friend and fellow public servant, The Honorable Emiliano "E.J" Salcines, and Tampa's Consular Corps; his many loyal Nashco customers; and the Antalya physicians who helped Nash enjoy the last years of his life. The family kindly requests no flowers be sent, rather that donations in tribute to Nash be made to the Alzheimer's Association
or memory care facility of your choice.