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John Thomas Nave, 89, former Mayor of Greenwood, and husband of Erminie McKnight Nave, of 606 Brooklane Drive, Greenwood, SC, passed away on March 3, 2011.
Mr. Nave was born in Mountain City, Tennessee on September 18, 1921 to the late Luther Garfield and Sarah Dyer Nave.
He entered East Tennessee State University in 1941, interrupting his studies in order to volunteer in WWII, and graduated from ETSU in 1947. He earned his Masters Degree from North Carolina State University in 1953.
He enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet in May 1944. Upon receiving his pilot wings, he remained on active duty for ten years, serving during WWII in the Pacific theatre as an Air Force pilot. After returning stateside, he spent four years as an ROTC instructor at North Carolina State University, followed by two years of active duty at Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine. He retired from the Air Force Reserves in 1981 as a Lt. Colonel.
He moved to Greenwood in 1956 and held the position of Chief Pilot for Abney Mills for 21 years. Mr. Nave became active in the development of the Greenwood County Republican Party, serving both as Chairman and Executive Committeeman. He was the first and only, Republican Mayor of Greenwood, serving four terms, 1967-71 and 1986-94. He also served on the Greenwood County Airport Commission, the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Chamber of Commerce. In recognition of his many civic contributions, Mr. Nave was awarded the South Carolina Order of the Palmetto in 1993, the highest civilian honor in the State of South Carolina.
He joined First Presbyterian Church in 1957 and was an active member for many years, having served as Deacon, Elder, Sunday School teacher and Youth Advisor.
Nave was an active member of the American Legion Post 20 for over 50 years and served two terms as Post Commander. He served as Post 20 Baseball Athletics Committee Chairman from 1994 until his retirement in 2000 and was an integral part in the founding of the Post’s annual Golf Tournament. He was also a member of Voiture 435 (“40&8”), DAV, VFW, and MOAA. For over 50 years, Nave was an active member of the Greenwood Lions Club, where he served on various committees as well as a term as President. Mr. Nave was an avid golfer and an enthusiastic gardener.
In addition to his wife of 59 years, he is survived by three children, Thomas Bradford Nave of Greensboro, NC, Kathy Nave Felder (Bill) of Greenwood and Debbie Nave Jobe (Gary) of Charleston, SC. He is also survived by four grandchildren, Harrison Jobe of NYC, John Thomas Jobe and Brantlee Jobe of Greensboro, NC, and Connor Felder of Greenwood.
Also surviving are one brother, Ralph Nave and wife, Greer, of Roseville, California and a brother-in-law, Stanley Ahrends, of Mountain City, Tennessee, plus several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his only sister, Mary Nave Ahrends and two brothers, Paul Nave and Fred Nave.
A memorial service, conducted by the Reverend Doctors David Mayo, John R. Wall, George Wilson and Chuck Moates, was held at First Presbyterian Church on Saturday, March 5, at 11 a.m. A private family burial, with full military honors, was held later in the day.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to the American Legion Post 20 Endowment Fund, 806 Calhoun Avenue, Greenwood, SC, 29649 or to the charity of one’s choice.