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John and Lily Nash, 1916.

Photo courtesy of Lester Devine.

Nash, John Edward (1886–1971) and Lily Augusta (Totenhofer) (1887–1973)

By Lester Devine

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Originally trained as a secondary history teacher, a career long Adventist educator, Lester Devine, Ed.D., has taught at elementary, secondary and higher education levels and spent more than three decades in elected educational leadership positions in two divisions of the world Church, NAD (1969-1982) and SPD (1982-2005). He completed his forty years of denominational service with a term as director of the Ellen G. White/Adventist Research Centre at Avondale University College in Australia where his life-long hobby of learning and presenting on Adventist heritage issues became his vocation. 

First Published: July 12, 2020

John Nash served the Seventh-day Adventist Church within the Sanitarium Health Food Company for forty years and for four years as secretary/treasurer of the Fiji Mission.

John Nash was born in Auckland, New Zealand, on March 25, 1886.1 His parents joined the Adventist Church through the preaching of Stephen Haskell in New Zealand, although no date is provided as to when this happened.2 Nash studied shorthand and accounting. While he passed all his law subjects, he did not complete the course and qualify for a degree due to his “inability to pass the final bookkeeping requirements” lamenting that he had “spent much money” in the process. While he did not obtain his desired accounting qualification, having completed the first stage of the program he held a certificate.3

By his own account, Nash entered denominational employment either in 1906 or 1907, initially at the Christchurch Sanitarium, where he “kept the books” in order. He then worked for the Sanitarium Health Food Company (SHF) in Christchurch for nine months, before spending a year in the Wellington SHF Café. This was followed by two and half years at the Sydney Café, beginning in 1913.4

In 1915 and 1916, Nash was a stenographer for C. H. Watson who was at the time the vice president of the Australasian Union Conference.5 In 1916, John Nash married Lily Augusta Totenhofer, who was born in Hobert, Tasmania, in 1887.6 The young couple soon found themselves in Fiji where John Nash was the mission secretary-treasurer for four years. During this time, a daughter, Jean Ellen, was born in Suva, Fiji.7 The family arrived back in Sydney, Australia, on October 18, 1920.8 They accepted an appointment in Perth Western Australia where John was an accountant for the next four years. While in Perth a son, Frederick Howard, was born in December, 1920.9 Fred Nash was to become a pastor and was well-known as a science teacher at Spicer College in India.10

Following nine years at Melbourne SHF Wholesale, John Nash transferred to the Cooranbong, New South Wales, factory in 1934 where he was the cashier until his retirement fifteen years later in 1950.11

There is no record of any break in Nash’s denominational service which encompassed forty four years from 1906/7 until around 1950 when he retired.12 Thus, his obituary is puzzling in noting that after “serving the cause for nearly forty years” John Edward Nash died on September 12, 1971.13 His wife Lily died on January 29, 1973.14

Sources

“Brother and Sister John Nash...” Australasian Record, November 1, 1920.

John Nash Biographical Records. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives.

John Nash Sustentation Records. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives.

Taylor, W. F. “Lillian Augusta Nash obituary.” Australasian Record, March 5, 1973.

Turner, W. G. “John Edward Nash obituary.” Australasian Record, November 8, 1971.

Notes

  1. John Nash Biographical Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Nash, John,” document: “Biographical Information Blank.”

  2. Ibid.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Ibid.

  5. Ibid.

  6. Ibid.

  7. Ibid.

  8. “Brother and Sister John Nash...,” Australasian Record, November 1, 1920, 8.

  9. John Nash Biographical Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Nash, John” document: “Biographical Information Blank.”

  10. W. G. Turner, “John Edward Nash obituary,” Australasian Record, November 8, 1971, 14.

  11. John Nash Sustentation Records, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives, folder: “Nash, John,” document: “Weekly Rates.”

  12. Ibid.

  13. W. G. Turner, “John Edward Nash obituary,” Australasian Record, November 8, 1971, 14.

  14. W. F. Taylor, “Lillian Augusta Nash obituary,” Australasian Record, March 5, 1973, 15.

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Devine, Lester. "Nash, John Edward (1886–1971) and Lily Augusta (Totenhofer) (1887–1973)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. July 12, 2020. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=680V.

Devine, Lester. "Nash, John Edward (1886–1971) and Lily Augusta (Totenhofer) (1887–1973)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. July 12, 2020. Date of access May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=680V.

Devine, Lester (2020, July 12). Nash, John Edward (1886–1971) and Lily Augusta (Totenhofer) (1887–1973). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=680V.