Town’s Gentleman Patriarch Dies

Town’s Gentleman Patriarch Dies

Arthur Stuart Nachman, a life well lived.

Nachman’s on Lynn Street in the Herndon Historic District

Nachman’s on Lynn Street in the Herndon Historic District Photo by Mercia Hobson.

    Arthur Nachman discusses his childhood, adolescence, and adulthood in the Town of Herndon in a video recording.

Arthur Stuart Nachman, patriarch of the Town of Herndon, died on Tuesday, July 25, at the age of 69, after a thirty-year battle with cancer.

Arthur never lost sight of the three critical pillars of his life: family, Rotary, and community. And he passionately supported each. 

Arthur cherished his wife, Sharon; their grown children, Grace Elizabeth McDaniel and Stuart Nachman; their spouses, Michael and Kristen; his four grandchildren, William and Graham McDaniel, Caroline and Jennifer Nachman; and his elder brother, Howard, with whom he worked for decades. 

Fellow Rotarian Tony Fulkerson described Arthur as "a larger-than-life man." He had a strong voice and never held back from sharing his opinions. "While we did not always agree, our mutual respect was never in doubt. In his personal and business dealings, Arthur lived by the Rotary 4-Way Test, adhering to the principles of truth, fairness, and goodwill," Fulkerson said.

Former Town Councilmember Signe Friedrichs recalled Arthur being deeply involved in his community. Arthur, always courteous and impeccably dressed, frequently attended town public hearings. A smart man, Arthur would challenge the findings of staff, council members, and appointed board members.

"When I was on the town council, he was always very curious and extremely critical of my actions as well as everyone else's. When we were in Rotary together, he would grumble and complain and then do more than anybody else to ensure that the mission was accomplished."

Arthur was a partner in Nachman’s, Inc. He was also a commercial real estate broker with Long and Foster and a former member of the Fairfax County Board of Equalization. He was a past president of the Herndon Reston Rotary Club and was recognized as its Citizen of the Year in 2012.

Born in Washington, D.C., in 1954 to Philip "Melvin" and Pauline Nachman, Arthur was a descendant of Julius Nachman, a young Russian immigrant who purchased an interest in a clothing and dry goods shop on Lynn Street in downtown Herndon in 1919. The building’s first floor would house the family-run business, Nachman’s Clothing, which operated for 75 years. Arthur worked there during his early years alongside his extended family members.

In 1919, Julius "signed a piece of paper that would shape the history of the Nachman family and the Town of Herndon." That was what Howard Nachman said on Jan. 14, 2020 — the day declared "Nachman Day in the Town" by then-Mayor Lisa Merkel.

Howard Nachman addressed the council with Arthur by his side. Howard said that to be a part of a community, "truly, you must partner with the local government, other businesses, people, and its citizens."

It was a commitment the brothers shouldered together that became their living legacy. Arthur and Howard eventually moved their real estate office to the top floor of the building owned by Julius and their grandmother, Anna. They turned the lower floor into a commercial space.

Arthur attended local schools and graduated from Herndon High School, where he flourished as a band member. Arthur remained a lifelong supporter of his alma mater's band program.

According to Kathleen Jacoby, director of bands at Herndon High School, Arthur was a proud Herndon High alumnus, with some of his favorite memories playing the bass drum at HHS and later at the University of Wisconsin.

"As a community pillar, Arthur facilitated hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for music student scholarships, tuition, instruments, instructors, trips, and pyramid recruitment activities. Arthur spent many hours attending concerts and rehearsals and was a regular sight in the band rooms throughout Herndon," Jacoby said. When Arthur attended a rained-out Showcase one year, he organized the coalition to build the school one of the first turf fields in Fairfax.

"When Arthur funded a student activity, he always gave a singular message to students: Pay it forward, and they have. Arthur touched the lives of so many students in our program in so many different ways," Jacoby added.

Lisa Merkel said she learned so much from Arthur over the years, not the least of which was taking constructive criticism and thinking on her feet. "I could tell so many tales, but my very favorite Arthur story is from years ago when he quietly took care of something for me during a community event when I barely knew him at all. It was so long ago that I had to look his number up in the actual phone book to call and thank him. Sharon answered instead, and when I told her why I was calling, she didn’t skip a beat and said, "Well, you know, he is a VERY nice man. He just doesn’t want anyone to know." And that is Arthur Nachman in a nutshell. I will miss him terribly." 

Two days after Arthur died, his family, friends, colleagues, town employees, and political officials crowded into the local funeral home. They spilled onto the front porch and beyond to express what Arthur’s  fellow Rotarian, Tony Fulkerson, said: "Rest in peace, dear friend." The Town of Herndon will truly miss Arthur, the very nice man who did not want others to know all the good he did in his town.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Rotary Club of Herndon-Reston, P.O. Box 321, Herndon, VA 20172.