Joan Le Grand Nash

Published 11:33 am Monday, July 18, 2016

Joan Le Grand Nash, 88, of 615 Laurel Lake Drive in Columbus passed away peacefully on Wednesday, July 13, 2016. She was born in Evanston, Ill. on August 11, 1927 and was the only daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Jules Le Grand of Wheaton, Ill. Her father, born in St. Lucia, B.W.I., practiced dentistry in Chicago for many years. Her mother Ella (Eloise) Gray, born in Gloucester, Va., taught elementary school in Oak Park, Ill.

Joan, an alumna of Bryn Mawr College, in 1946 married John T. Hellyer of Chicago with whom she had five children. She was active in the Junior League in Chicago, Rockford, Ill, Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Asheville, N.C. She got her B.A. from Beloit College in 1972, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, majoring in French literature, and went on to earn an M.A. from the University of Iowa in 1973. In 1976 while working on a doctoral degree, she met and married John Nash II of Downers Grove, Ill.

Mr. and Mrs. Nash moved to Tryon in December of 1978 where Joan became a successful Crusade Chairman for the Polk County Chapter of the American Cancer Society.

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From 1980 until 2007 she was the Community Schools Director for Polk County. She organized numerous concerts, theatrical and folk cultural events for the school system as well as working with teachers who had special needs for their students. She also wrote, took photographs, edited and published the twice award-winning quarterly newspaper, “Polk Sallet,” which went to every home in the county. In addition, she wrote most of the articles about the school system in the local papers. She was the volunteer coordinator for the Polk County Schools and assisted the Rotary Club of Tryon with Governor Hunt’s awards for “Volunteer of the Year.” She was on the Polk County Social Services Board for nine years, serving two terms as Board Chairman and was an advocate for children in foster care. She served many years on the Permanency Planning Action Team. She directed the first after school program at Tryon Elementary School and successfully wrote all the grants for the North Carolina Arts Council during her tenure which provided various programs such as Music in the Park, etc., for the community. She gave a great deal of support to and provided publicity for the Polk County High School band program.

In 1982 the Thermal Belt Business and Professional Women’s Club named her their “Woman of the Year.” She was also a Past President of the Tryon Polk County Republican Women’s Club.

Surviving Mrs. Nash are four of her five children: Eloise Hellyer (Amato) of Montone, Italy, Arthur T. Hellyer (Cindy) of Spartanburg, S.C., Edith Felker (Dave) of Escondido, Calif. and John Frederick Hellyer of Story City, Iowa and son-in law Douglas Hoeflinger (widower of daughter Tirrell) of Oro Valley, Ariz.; six grandchildren: Lucia Ford (Jeremy) of Highland, Md., Diana Sundsvold (Scott) of Springfield, Va. Jennifer North of Blaine, Wash., Coleman Hellyer of Atlanta, Ga., Kathryn Hellyer of Spartanburg, S.C., and Chase Hellyer of Story City, Iowa. Also mourning are three stepchildren: Bruce M. Nash (Sue) of Mequon, Wisc., Horace L. Nash (Betsy) of Menlo Park, Calif., Camille Nash (widow of stepson Geoffrey) of Edina, Minn.; seven step-grandchildren: Katie Nash of Chicago, Ill., Claire Nash of Edina, Minn., Julia and Peter Nash of Washington D.C., Kristen, Megan and Jonathan Nash of Menlo Park, Calif.

The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, July 22 at Tryon Estates in Columbus.

In lieu of flowers it is requested that Joan be remembered with donations to the Hospice of Rutherford County, 374 Hudlow Road, PO Box 336, Forest City, NC, 28043 or to a charity of choice. Anyone wishing to send a note to the family may address it to: Arthur T. Hellyer, 612 Old Iron Works Road, Spartanburg, SC 29302.

An online guest register can be signed at

McFarland Funeral Chapel
Tryon, N.C.