IF YOU WERE a member of Deliverance Evangelistic Church and needed a good shot of spiritual encouragement, all you had to do was call the church hot line.
You would be put in touch with a specially trained church member who would discuss your problem and come up with a way to help - be it prayer, scripture readings or just a compassionate discussion.
You might have gotten Nepolen Nash, a member of the Deacon Board, who often took a turn on the hot line, which was available 24/7 over the past 20 years or so.
"He got a lot of satisfaction out of that," said his nephew Thomas Meadows. "He had the heart to serve the Lord in that way. He was committed to do that."
Nepolen Nash, a 40-year employee of the Philadelphia Gas Works as a pipe mechanic, a devoted churchman and a family patriarch whose descendants extended to grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren and great-great-great-grandchildren, died May 11. He was 87 and lived in West Oak Lane.
He was born in Spartanburg County, S.C., one of the 14 children of Elmore and Mandia Nash. He was educated in the public schools there and came to Philadelphia in 1944.
He retired from the gas works in 1985 and devoted himself to his church work. He was a member of Deliverance Evangelistic Church for more than 38 years.
Troubled people who called into the hot line might seek respite from perceived sins, or depression or an emptiness of soul.
If needed, they would be the subject of a "prayer chain," in which volunteers prayed for them round-the-clock, taking two-hour shifts.
"He was very much about family," his nephew said. "He was devoted to his wife and his many descendants, including nieces and nephews."
Nepolen enjoyed traveling to Atlantic City, but only in the pre-casino days. He didn't want to subject himself to the hectic environment caused by legalized gambling.
He also made frequent trips to South Carolina because many of his descendants still live there.
His wife of 57 years, Kattie Nash, died in 2005.
He is survived by a daughter, Dollie Collins; two sisters, Mandia Nash and Ophelia Carree; four grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren and great-great-great-grandchildren, too numerous to count.