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The loss of Bob Nanninga...

Wow is all i can say. Again i reiterate my point that life is way too short and we have to enjoy every moment of it. You may recall my post about Bob a few months back. I was elated to have dialogue with him and he even retorted to my comment in his column. I have always respected Bob as a person even if some of his views were far away from mine.

Here is what was written about him:

ENCINITAS ---- The work Bob Nanninga did over the last 15 years to push for more arts and environmental sensitivity in Encinitas has helped make the city a better place, friends, family members and city officials said Monday.

"This town really owes him a debt for what he’s done for all of us," said Councilman Dan Dalager, who had been close friends with Nanninga for the last 10 years.

Nanninga died of pneumonia Saturday at a La Jolla Hospital. He was 45.

His enthusiasm in promoting art and environmental issues was contagious, Councilman Jim Bond said.

"He really walked the walk," Bond said.

Over the last decade or so, Nanninga, a professional actor and staunch environmentalist, had become known for his columns in The Coast News and the North County Times, and for the cyber cafe he owned with his longtime partner, Keith Shillington.

The couple opened The E Street Cafe in downtown Encinitas in 2004. The business venture started out as a birthday present from Shillington and has grown into a showcase for local artists and musicians.

Nanninga was always outspoken, but his left-leaning political views weren't popular with everybody.

"Whether people agreed or disagreed, he provided a lot of people with food for thought," Mayor Maggie Houlihan said.

Though Nanninga often came off as extremely liberal, he was often much more practical than he appeared, said Dalager.

"There was Bob and then there was 'Bob the actor,' " he said. "A lot of time, the columns were by the actor. That was just Bob selling his wares."

Nanninga ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Encinitas City Council three times and served on the city's Parks and Recreation Commission.

His work to promote environmental awareness was what he was proudest of, family and friends said Monday. He was instrumental in starting Encinitas Environmental Day in 2007.

His love of the arts and children also inspired him to volunteer to teach theater to children at Paul Ecke Central Elementary School. The walls of his hospital room were covered with cards and letters from students he worked with at the school, Shillington said.

"Those kids loved him," he said.

Nanninga also was a fixture at the annual Full Moon Poets poetry slam that he hosted for a decade.

If there were one word to properly describe Nanninga, it would be "unique," Shillington said.

"Everything was unique about him," he said. "There are no words that can adequately describe him."

Robert Nanninga was born Sept. 3, 1963, in Vista, across the street from Vista High School, where he graduated. His parents still live in the house.

His activism started early, said his mother, Sandra.

As a teenager, he stopped eating meat, started recycling and got bitten by the acting bug, she said.

"He was very young when he decided that the world needed to be saved and that we needed to do something about this planet," she said.

He also took to calling his mother his "Mom unit," which was indicative of his unconventional sense of humor.

"He was always on stage," Sandra Nanninga said. "It was always a party when he was around."

About 15 years ago, he moved to Leucadia, to be closer to Shillington.

Nanninga is survived by Shillington; his parents, Sandra and Dale Nanninga; and siblings Tom, Bill, Karen and Jessie Ruth, his twin sister.

Roughly 300 people showed up Sunday to a wake his family organized to celebrate his life, Shillington said. They are also planning a formal memorial ceremony soon, but haven't set a date.

"It would be a mistake to not give more people the opportunity to grieve," Shillington said. "He was a brilliant, brilliant, brilliant spark and burned so very brightly."

Bob, Thank you for being briefly introduced in my life. I wish i could have gotten to know you better as a person. Keith, if you read this, my heart goes out to you and I would love to meet you someday to talk about Bob and what he was really like. I shed tears knowing that you are gone, but I smile knowing that you touched so many peoples lives.


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