PHHP Partners in Love: Cathy and Tom

Cathy Nasby, ’90, and Tom Nasby, ’89
MBA/MHS in health administration

Cathy and Tom Nasby posing in front of bike rental
Cathy and Tom Nasby early in their relationship

Although Cathy and Tom both moved to Gainesville in 1981 and ran in similar social circles, it wasn’t until grad school orientation weekend in 1987 that they first met.

“I consider this serendipitous as had we met earlier, with my lack of maturity, Cathy would have had nothing to do with me,” Tom joked.

Cathy, a first-year student, was immediately drawn to the tall, bearded second-year student with hazel eyes.

“The orientation tour groups were being set up and when I saw Tom stand up to collect his group I thought, ‘Oh, I hope he’s MY tour guide,’” Cathy remembered.

Tom noticed her smile first and was impressed that Cathy, a nurse, was very focused on determining what she wanted in life. That first night, they both ended up at Skeeter’s at 2 a.m., surrounded by a table of other grad students and orders of big biscuits.

Early in their relationship, the couple was faced with challenges that brought them closer together. Cathy experienced emotional distress when a “C” in statistics put her on academic probation. During the same time, Tom was diagnosed with cancer.

Cathy and Tom Nasby
Cathy and Tom have been together for more than 30 years

“Needless to say, some of our memorable moments on the surface would not be considered happy times, but they showed us both that we were stronger together and could take on any obstacle with love and a plan of action.”

Similar beliefs and political preferences as well as a shared philosophical approach to health care also helped bind the couple.

“Both of our mothers were health care professionals — mine a P.T., and Cathy’s an R.N.,” Tom said. “I think we both knew early on that we wanted to embrace the responsibilities and challenges of such a dynamic occupation. This was truly driven home when my mother moved into our home for the last five years of her life. Health care is local and personal. There is no greater reminder than managing the care of a loved one who is dying.”

Cathy, lead educator in pediatrics at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, spent about 30 years in nursing operations leadership and the past 10 in informatics and education. Tom is network vice president at Aetna Inc.

After more than 30 years together and two children, Cathy and Tom say the longer they share their lives, the better they have gotten at deciding if a situation needs immediate attention or if they should just let it play out. They also rely on humor.

“When something is funny, laugh. The smallest, meaningless experience becomes a treasured memory. Repeat lines from funny or touching stories, movies and songs, they become your own special language. Remember to celebrate and create happy memories for yourselves and your children.”