Euchre tournament to be hosted for Heather Nash scholarship

Published 8:33 am Tuesday, March 19, 2019

DOWAGIAC — Euchre is the great Midwest card game that brings people together. Late night tournaments, laughs and trash talking and years of bragging rights are as associated with the game as the kings and queens and aces in each hand.

The Midwest classic, however, will be bringing a community together for a deeper purpose on Saturday, March 23, to honor the memory of a beloved friend and educator, and to pave the way of education for a college hopeful.

Saturday’s Euchre tournament from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Dowagiac Elks Club will be hosted in honor of Heather Nash, the former principal of Patrick Hamilton Elementary school who died in December 2018. The tournament, with a blind auction, 50/50 raffle, cash prizes, snacks and a cash bar, is a fundraiser for the Heather Nash Memorial Scholarship of $1,000 designated for a Dowagiac senior high student preparing for college.

Heather Nash

Although some of the criteria for the scholarship are not yet set in stone, the resolve to create the memorial scholarship is as deep as the affection for the late Dowagiac educator.

After Nash’s unexpected death resulting from complications following a routine knee procedure, several family members and friends came together with the desire to honor her through the endeavor that was her life’s calling: education.

“She’d been a(n) (educator) for 20 years. It was something very dear to her heart,” said Nash’s mother, Sandi Hoger. “She was very good at it. She just loved kids and education. It was a huge part of her life.”

Nash’s widower, Tobin Nash, described her as studious and cut out for education from adolescence to adulthood.

Nash, a graduate of Dowagiac Union Schools, was a good student and knew early in her life that she wanted to work in education, said family. After graduating from Dowagiac, she attended the University of Michigan and Albion College for her undergraduate studies and later earned two master’s degrees from Grand Valley State University. She taught kindergarten for nearly 10 years, and served as the principal of Patrick Hamilton Elementary school for more than 10 years.

It was because of her lifelong involvement in education that her loved ones thought a scholarship would best serve her memory, but her dedication to her home community stood out as much as her vocation.

“Education was her life,” Tobin said. “I know how important education was to her. She loved this community and loved the kids.”

Tobin was not expecting the support he’s received from his community and close friends, but the founding of the Heather Nash Memorial Scholarship is further testament to him of the amazing person his wife was and the profound impact she left in Dowagiac.

“I never asked for this, but I find it incredible they’re doing this for her,” he said. “She was very full of life and very outgoing. People loved her.”

Some of the most involved volunteers working to create the Heather Nash Memorial scholarship and organize the Euchre tournament are Jeff Painter, Marcie Lechlitner and Shelly Henry.

The cost to participate in the tournament is $25. Registration for the event is open until Tuesday, March 19. Interested participants can email