In Memoriam

Robert Wesley Nash

September 21, 1930 — May 4, 2015

Robert Nash

On May 4, Robert Wesley (Bob) Nash, one of Rolla's most prominent citizens, passed away quietly at the age of 84 in Apple Valley, California surrounded by close family.

Bob retired in 1992 after 39 years as a research technician with the US Bureau of Mines. After retirement, Bob took an active role in civic affairs. Bob was fearless. He had strong beliefs and would stand up to anyone, no matter how powerful and influential.

When the City of Rolla offered Briggs & Stratton money, percs, tax abatements and even a building to open a plant in Rolla, Bob warned against the deal. Bob was ridiculed for his belief, but few remembered his warnings ten years later, when the percs and tax abatements dried up, and Briggs & Stratton closed their Rolla plant and moved production to China.

Bob was part of the citizens' group which saved Buehler Park, a dedicated park which the City of Rolla attempted to sell illegally for a Cracker Barrel restaurant. Through their attorneys at Great Rivers Environmental Law Center, the people won a landmark decision in which for the first time since 1910, Missouri Courts ruled that users of public property have standing to sue in Court. They also ruled that Buehler Park was indeed a dedicated park and could not be legally sold.

While the entire group of park preservationists was under attack, Stephen Sowers, editor and publisher of the Rolla Daily News, saved his nastiest venom for Bob, writing, “here's some advice: Wish your kids good luck wherever they are and let them know we're getting along just fine without them. Also, you might consider joining them.” (Rolla Daily News, March 16, 1998, page 6A)

Bob was neither cowed nor intimidated by such vicious attacks. He stayed and fought back.

When Circuit Court judge, Jack Edwards, ruled that mere citizens and taxpayers had no standing in Court to question the wisdom of city leaders (later, overturned on appeal), Bob began publishing the online newsletter, No Standing News in which he consistently questioned and exposed the actions of the city government and the local school board. Bob continued publishing the No Standing News for 12 years. In its heyday, it had a circulation of over 1,000 readers.

Bob was not one to sit idly by in the face of an injustice. When the City of Rolla attempted to deny municipal judge Joanne Mayberry her pension, Bob reprinted a tribute written for Joanne on her retirement remarking, “one thing is absolutely certain: none of the pinch-penny grumps in city hall will ever have a tribute like this written about them!” The Courts awarded Joanne her pension.

Bob was courageous. He stood up for the underdog and the oppressed. Rest in Peace, Bob. We will miss you.