A Life Lived… Greg Nave lived his dream to be a policeman

Published 9:04 am Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Some men are little boys at heart all their lives, but when the going gets rough, they rise to the occasion.

Gregory Kirk “Spike” Nave was a little boy all his life. He was a prankster, who loved to make people laugh. And, he could have as good a time with a child as he could with one of his peers.

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Greg died March 21 at the age of 55, having suffered from a failing heart the past 10 years or so.

Before his retirement he worked as a law enforcement officer. He had served with the Elizabethton Police Department, the Bluff City Police Department, and retired due to disability from the Carter County Sheriff’s Department. “From the time he was a little boy he wanted to be a policeman,” said his sister, Kim Pierce, his only sibling. “He had a policeman’s uniform, complete with handcuffs, when he was a young boy. He was always handcuffing me and locking me up in a room in the house. His dream, even when he was a little boy, was be a policeman.”

Kim spoke with much pride about her brother. “He was a good man, a good law enforcement officer. I remember once when he was off duty, he was called in to go on a domestic disturbance call. The party involved said they would only surrender if Greg was there. So, he put on his uniform, took his Bible and went. He went inside and talked to the man, and he peacefully gave himself up,” Kim shared.

At his funeral Saturday, Sheriff Dexter Lunceford presented his sister with a deputy’s badge in commemoration of Greg’s service to the county.

When he wasn’t working as a law enforcement officer, Greg enjoyed visiting the sick and shut-in. Among those he visited often was Shirley Verran, who for a time before her death was a resident at a local nursing home. “He was more like a comedian than anything when he visited the shut-in. He would have them in stitches from laughing so hard,” said Kim.

Greg had a special love for music, and played drums for a time with the Calvary Way Quartet and the Southern Kings. “He never took lessons. He was just a natural when it came to the drums,” Kim said. He also enjoyed singing, especially Conway Twitty and George Jones hits.

In high school at Unaka, Greg played baseball and basketball. In later years, he was his niece, Madison Pierce’s, biggest fan. Madison played softball, and Greg attended all of her games. “He was her biggest fan, and always had been. When she was little, he spent hours playing with her and the kids in the neighborhood. He rode go-carts and four-wheelers with them, played on the trampoline with them, and just spent time with them. He and Madison were best buddies,” said Kim.

He was a Dallas Cowboys fans and watched all of their televised games. “He had autographed photos, Cowboy jerseys and blankets. He had over 50 Cowboy jerseys when he died,” Kim said.

His favorite Cowboy players were Jason Witten, Ezekiel Elliott, and Emmit Smith, when he played with the Dallas team.

Greg was a member of the Union Hill Free Will Baptist Church. He was the son of the late W. J. and Christine Pierce Nave.

Saturday, Greg Nave was laid to rest on his native Stoney Creek, in the Blevins Cemetery.

Like a little boy, he left a smudge on so many people’s hearts, and the memory of hearty laughter.