Harpers Ferry's Bradley Nash dies

January 02, 1997


Staff Writer

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. - Bradley DeLamater Nash, adviser to presidents, investment banker, author, naturalist and former mayor of Harpers Ferry, died Wednesday at the age of 96 at Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson, W.Va.

His wife, Virginia J. Nash, said he had pneumonia.

Nash's life was the subject of a 1995 book, "Statesman of Harpers Ferry," by Charles Town resident Charles E. Ransom Jr.

His influence ranged from the highest national levels, including the office of the presidency, all the way down to local politics.


Nash, who moved to Harpers Ferry in 1950, served as the town's mayor from 1971 to 1977 and 1981 to 1986.

Current Harpers Ferry Mayor Walton "Kip" Stowell remembered Nash Wednesday as a progressive mayor who helped promote the town's history and develop the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

"I think he saw the potential for Harpers Ferry," Stowell said. "I felt he was very progressive and really a visionary."

On a personal level, Nash was an impeccable dresser, known for wearing bow ties. "He was the epitome of a gentleman," Stowell said.

Former mayor Adam Craven said Harpers Ferry was "indebted" to Nash for putting in a public water system.

"He was a Harvard man, very well educated. He'll be missed," Craven said.

Dr. Donald Master, mayor of Charles Town from 1968 to 1990, said Nash was his mentor.

"He was a real pillar and a foundation for good, not only for Harpers Ferry but nationally as far as I'm concerned," Master said. "He had tremendous insight."

Nash and his late first wife, Ruth, donated about 45 acres of historically significant land to the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, including their scenic 21-acre home, High Acres Farm, which overlooks the gap above the town.

They donated an additional 20 acres to the state of West Virginia as a wildlife sanctuary.

Nash, who was born in Boston in 1900 and graduated from Harvard University with honors in 1923, was President Herbert Hoover's secretary from 1927 to 1929.

During the Depression Nash worked as a banker in New York City.

A lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army during World War II, he received a bronze star and a commendation medal for action in the Italian campaign.

Under President Dwight Eisenhower, Nash served as deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Air Force from 1953 to 1956 and deputy under-secretary of transportation at the Department of Commerce from 1957 to 1961.

As a consultant to Eisenhower, Nash and the president's brother, Milton Eisenhower, studied the problems involved in staffing the White House.

Twenty-eight years after their report was released in 1952, the Center for the Study of the Presidency published it again, in 1980, as the book "Organizing and Staffing the Presidency."

The Center called Nash and Milton Eisenhower "two of the most experienced presidential counselors."

Nash also was the author of the 1924 book "Investment Banking in England" and the 1950 book "A Hook in Leviathan."

He served as a historian and consultant with the National Park Service in 1963 and 1964 and as a member of the West Virginia Railroad Maintenance Authority from 1977 to 1988.

Nash also was on the Board of Advisors of the National Trust for Historic Preservation from 1965 to 1973 and a member of the Harpers Ferry Men's Cooking Club, among other organizations.

He is survived by his second wife, Virginia Nash, a stepdaughter and four step-grandchildren.

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