Football, entrepreneurship part of Murrysville man’s life
Arthur “Gene” Nance might not have made the cut for the NFL, but his jersey number was featured in the movie “We Are Marshall.”
Playing for various colleges, including Buffalo University in New York, Nance eventually became a replacement player on the Marshall University football team — only a year after a plane crash that killed the football team and all 70 people on board.
And after that, he tried out and made the practice team for the Denver Broncos, his wife, Debbie, said.
“He was a very humble guy,” she said. “He would never tell people about stuff. He was just him.”
Mr. Arthur Nance, 69, of Murrysville, died Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2019.
Born in Indiana Nov. 19, 1949, he was the son of James Soloman Nance and Delia James Nance.
After graduating high school, Mr. Nance met his wife while out with his brother, Jim Nance, who formerly played for the Boston Patriots in the American Football League. Seeing him standing against the wall, Debbie Nance said, ” ‘Oh, I think I’m going to talk to him.’ “
“It was like love at first site,” she said.
The couple, who was married for 41 years and together for 48, have two sons.
Starting out their life in Massachusetts, Mr. Nance quickly started an auto detailing shop out of his garage, while his wife ran a daycare out of their basement.
Living there for 16 years, the couple decided it was time to come home and raise their kids close to their hometowns.
“He was my scout leader, he was my coach in pretty much every sport,” said his son, Aaron Gene Nance. “He was a good role model. He was into martial arts, so I got into martial arts in college. He had a black belt in judo. He could handle himself.”
Aaron Nance said he and his dad were close, and would touch base every week.
After moving back to the area, Mr. Nance opened J.A.N. Medical Sales in Murrysville, selling medical equipment to nursing homes.
“He opened up his J.A.N. Medical Sales and did that for the last 25 years,” Debbie Nance said. “He’s highly respected in the nursing home sphere.”
In his free time, Mr. Nance enjoyed watching Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and Vin Diesel movies.
“It was the worst shows,” Aaron Nance said with a laugh. “Terrible taste in movies and TV.”
Aaron Nance added that his dad never left the house without shined shoes and, if someone suggested wearing jeans, he would just laugh.
“The man always looked good,” he said.
Mr. Nance is preceded in death by four brothers, Thomas, Emmanuel and Hillard Sherman and James Soloman Nance Jr.
In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by his son Jordan Joseph Nance; a twin sister, Ardyth Mae Nance; a brother, Drew Powell Nance; three sisters, Marie Sherman, Delia Bernie Nance, of Detroit, Mich. and Carolyn Joan Nance of Atlanta, Ga.; and many nieces and nephews.
Friends will be received from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the Hart Funeral Home, 3103 Lillian Ave., Murrysville. A blessing service will be held at 10 a.m. in the funeral home. Interment will follow in Oakland Cemetery, Indiana, Pa.
Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .