A Life Lived: Ada Nave known for her lemon meringue pies

Published 8:13 am Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Ada Nave was known for a lot of things — a wonderful mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, a faithful church member, a superb saleslady — but to friends and neighbors in the East Side Community, it was her lemon meringue pie that set her apart from others.

“My mother loved to cook, and probably every neighbor and every person in East Side Baptist Church, who has been sick, has received one of her lemon meringue pies. That was her specialty and comfort food,” said Doris Carrier, a daughter.

Mrs. Nave not only enjoyed cooking, but she loved to grow her own vegetables and can them. “She canned everything. She grew her own green beans, and canned them,” said Doris.

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The fact that she loved to grow her own vegetables and cook probably had its roots in her upbringing. Mrs. Nave was raised on a dairy farm in the Hunter Community in a time when most people grew what they ate. It was also when times were simpler, people more neighborly, and hard work was a virtue.

Mrs. Nave died April 14 at the age of 97. She lived alone and did most of her housework and yard work well into her eighties. In latter years, she had stayed with her daughters, Doris (Mrs. Waymon Carrier) and Diane (Mrs. Roger Deal), and more recently lived at Sycamore Springs Assisted Living Center.

In addition to her two daughters, she had a son, Melvin Nave (Shirley), five grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.

Mrs. Nave was a graduate of Elizabethton High School and in 1940 at the age of 18 married the love of her life, Luther Nave, who for many years was a local law enforcement officer. When World War II rolled around soon after their marriage, Luther joined the military and Mrs. Nave went to work downtown at Federal’s Clothing Store.

She later worked as a saleslady at Kyle’s Corner and manager at Nettie Lee’s. “She was well-known around town and had many customers at both shops. She had some customers who were adamant about her waiting on them,” said Doris. “Mom was a kind, patient person. She also was very humble and modest, so she made a good saleslady.”

Doris remembers her mother as a stay-at-home mom when she and her siblings were small. “We lived in Whitesburg for about four years while my dad worked at TVA. We moved back to Elizabethton when he got a job at Raytheon. When he got laid off there, he went into law enforcement work,” said Doris.

Doris said her mother was only 55 years old when her father died. “It was hard for her. She was used to being a very independent person, so she learned to drive, which was both a challenge and an accomplishment for her. My mother was one of the strongest people I’ve known. In addition to keeping house, she did her own yard work, tended her flowers, and worked a job. She didn’t believe in idle hands,” Doris said.

Mrs. Nave was a very faithful member of East Side Baptist Church. In later years, a friend, Mrs. Lillian Bullock, picked Mrs. Nave up and drove her to and from church. “My mother loved her church, and if you were around her very much, you were very careful not to say anything bad about her church or the people in it. She knew every person who attended East Side Baptist and all about them. She loved her church family, and she especially enjoyed working in the church kitchen,” Doris shared.

The last two or three years that Mrs. Nave was able to attend church, she attended Lynn Valley Baptist Church with her son, Melvin, and his wife, Shirley.

Following her retirement, she traveled some with family and with church groups. Among the places she visited were the beach, Williamsburg, Va., and Niagara Falls.

“My mother lived a long and full life. She was a spitfire, and I’m proud to be her daughter,” said Doris.

Mrs. Nave outlived her seven siblings, most of her friends and neighbors, and witnessed many new things in her lifetime, such as television, electric appliances, air travel, etc. She was born when Woodrow Wilson was president and had seen 17 other presidents inaugurated. She had also been a part of downtown Elizabethton, when it was a vibrant shopping district.

My, what she had witnessed in her lifetime, and the stories she could tell!