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Charles Williams Nash

Early life
 
Nash was born to a farming family in Cortland, Illinois, on what is now Route 38, the old Lincoln Highway.  Charles' parent's separation, at age 6, put Charles to work as a farm-hand in Michigan as an indentured servant.  He later became a shepherd to the owner of hay-bailing machinery.  On April 23, 1884, he married Jessie Halleck whom he had met while pressing hay on her father's farm.  They then moved to Flint, Michigan, in 1890 where he was noticed by William C. Durant of the Durant-Dort Carriage Company.  Durant hired him in 1890, and Nash became a supervisor.
 
Automobile industry
 
Nash co-founded Buick Motor Company with David D. Buick and William C. Durant, and in 1908 became Buick's president and general manager.  In 1910, he was hired as general manager of the General Motors Corporation (GMC).  He took over a debt-ridden company suffering losses and increased profits to $800,000 as early as 1911, and to over $12 million by 1914, as well as secured the firms financial footing. However, his reluctance to pay dividends to shareholders resulted in Nash being voted out of his position in 1915.  
Nash, who took control of GM in 1910 from William Durant, was now fired by him when Durant regained control in 1916.  
Nash then resolved never again to work for someone else.  
 
He bought out the Jeffery Motor Company in August 1916. In 1917, renamed it as Nash Motors.  The 1917 Nash Model 671 was the first vehicle produced to bear the name of the new company's founder.  The new company was successful, with sales totaling 31,008 trucks and cars by 1919.
In addition to running Nash Motors, Charles Nash was also president of the luxury car company LaFayette Motors until that company was bought out by Nash Motors in 1924.
 
Retirement
 
Charles W. Nash retired in 1936.  His successor at the company was George W. Mason, who was recommended by Walter Chrysler.  
He lived in retirement for twelve years later and died at the age of 84 in Beverly Hills, California.  His health failed at the death of his wife in 1947.  He died in 1948, and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale next to his wife.
 
Legacy
 
Nash is best known for responding to public demand by building a smaller, more economical and affordable cars.  Nash Motors was very successful marketing cars to North America's middle class.  He is also recognized for lean operations in business that included scheduling production and material orders closely, carrying a small inventory, and having flexibility in meeting the changing market needs during the economic turmoil of the 1920s and 1930s.  Nash, is also credited with developing the straight-line conveyor belt assembly system that he first introduced at the Durant-Dort Carriage Company factory.
 
Charles W. Nash's achievements have been summarized in the word "success"
A man who, in the short space of nine years, has built up a business on which there is not a dollar of bonded indebtedness, whose stocks have a market value approximating $137,000,000, whose profits have exceeded $56,000,000, and whose bank balance tops $30,000,000, surely must be regarded as a very practical authority on what makes for success.