Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Song Nash was chef, entrepreneur


The funeral for Song Nash in Shoreline, Wash., Monday filled the 600 seats of St. Luke Catholic Church, and included a 40-member youth choir.

"Song was all about his faith, and all about instilling and fostering faith in youth and his own kids," said wife Amy Nash, St. Luke's youth director.

The local chef and entrepreneur died May 20 at the University of Washington Hospital in Seattle of stomach cancer. He was 41.

He was "really funny," sister Corrie Stickler said, playing the straight man to his more rowdy brothers. He was generous with his time and talents, loved to cook for others, and was always "looking for the good deal with good intentions; to help somebody," Corrie said.

Song H. Nash was born in Seoul, South Korea on Dec. 14, 1975. He was abandoned when he was five years old and was cared for by his older sister, Yongee. They spent several years in an orphanage until Pelican fisherman Don Nash and wife Becky, a nurse and quilter, adopted the pair in November 1985.

"My first glimpse of Song was this excited little guy jumping down the escalator three steps at a time," at the Seattle airport, Becky Nash said.

The tiny fishing village was a shock to Song, who had more exposure to pop culture in urban Korea than did the Nash kids. "He could sing a whole Michael Jackson song," brother Lee Nash said.

When the Nashes move to Haines a few years later, Song jumped into school, family fishing adventures, and community activities. He graduated from Haines High in 1994.

After earning a culinary arts degree from Kapi'olani Community College in Honolulu, Song worked as a chef at the Manele Bay Four Seasons Resort, and took up golf and surfing before returning to Alaska as the chef for the Cross Sound Lodge in Elfin Cove.

He returned to Haines to manage the Lighthouse Restaurant. He won local golf tournaments, refereed basketball games, and coached youth teams.

Song Nash met missionary Amy Junkin when she rented a room in his parent's house. "He cooked his way into my heart. I can't cook, so he used that to win me over," Amy said.

They married Dec. 1, 2007 at St. Luke Church and settled in Haines where Song joined Amy as a Christian youth group leader and led a Bible study group.

Six years ago he became a partner in Haines Packing Co. and director of marketing. "He was really good at selling things," said manager Harry Rietze, creating value-added products like salmon pepperoni and "all sorts of dips and spreads."

"He was a great guy to be around, a great friend, and a great business partner," Rietze said. In the off-season, Song was a stay-at-home dad to Mercy, 1, Mason, 5, and Christian, 7.

Song, his brother Lee, and a friend survived the sinking of the Nash family fishing boat in 1999 that claimed the life of Olen Nash, the family's youngest son.

"We talked about how at the time, if you'd have looked at any one of us and said: 'I'll give you a clear path for 20 years, and a beautiful wife and three kids, in exchange for getting out of this,' we'd be fighting over it," Lee said.

Song also traveled to Korea, where he reconciled with relatives. "He wanted them to know they made the best decision for him, allowing him to be adopted and lead the life he had," Amy said.

Song was preceded in death by brothers Olen and Aaron, and is survived by wife Amy; children Christian, Mason, and Mercy of Haines and Shoreline; parents Don and Becky Nash of Haines; siblings Yongee Nash of Anchorage and Lee Nash and Corrie Stickler of Haines; grandmother Evelyn Biehl, and the extended Nash and Junkin families.

A local memorial service is tentatively scheduled for June 24. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Nash Fund at Wells Fargo.


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