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Published December 2017
In this month’s issue, we bring you the sad news of Ava Nelle O’Bryan’s passing on October 8, 2017. Not only was she a “family member” to many in the industry, but she also played a vital role in seeing Cleaner Times get off the ground to become the trade journal for the pressure washing industry.
The first issue of Cleaner Times was organized and published in December 1989 by David Hunt of Victor Manufacturing and several other industry professionals. This first issue of Cleaner Times promoted the CEMA (Cleaning Equipment Manufacturers Association) trade show in Orlando that month as well as other topics of interest in the pressure washing industry. The APD (Association of Power Washing Distributors) also participated in the Orlando trade show. In February of 1990, CEMA and APD merged their organizations to form CETA (Cleaning Equipment Trade Association).
In January of 1990, Advantage Pub-lishing was established as a partnership between Charlene Yarbrough and Ava Nelle O’Bryan, and thus the official publisher of Cleaner Times was formed. Both women set the groundwork for establishing the magazine, which has been in print now for 29 years. Nelle’s major role in the establishment of Cleaner Times was primarily as sales manager—a very, very difficult job for a startup magazine—but Nelle was tenacious and would credit her success to her faith in Jesus Christ. In March of 1992, after nearly a year and a half of very long work weeks, Nelle decided to sell her interest in the company, so she could pursue her interest in serving her family and her church.
Ava Nelle O’Bryan was born August 25, 1938, in Pine Bluff, AR. On May 25, 1954, she married Gordon E. O’Bryan, Sr., her husband for 58 years. She was a member of Piney Baptist Church in Hot Springs, AR, and a lifelong devoted church worker, wife, mother, and grandmother. Nelle and her husband raised four boys: Gordon Jr. or “Gordy,” Danny, Tony, and Pat. She had 13 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. Nelle and her husband served in multiple ministries for their church. One of her specialties was organizing and directing puppet shows that would communicate the gospel message to children and adults. Her ministry efforts also included three missionary trips to Romania. Nelle’s life was simple; she and Gordon lived frugally so they could give liberally.
Nelle has four surviving brothers—John Hunt of Maryland; Artie Hunt of Little Rock, AR; David Hunt of Springdale, AR; and Billy Hunt of Chula Vista, CA; and two sisters—Vicki Foti of Fayetteville, AR; and Charlene Yarbrough of Little Rock, AR. She was preceded in death by her older sister, Jo Ramona Hunt Steele.
Several of the comments spoken by friends of Nelle’s stated, “She was a role model to me as I grew up and a wonderful Sunday School teacher. I am so happy she is with the Lord and Mr. O’Bryan now,” and, “She was such a sweet person and always willing to help. Heaven gained a sweet angel!”
Charlene Yarbrough, her sister, says, “I don’t know how we ever did it. Establishing a valuable magazine for the pressure washing industry required us to work 70-hour weeks. I could not have made it without her being there by my side.”