Saturday, February 14, 2009

In Remembrance, Bob Nanninga

Robert “Bob” Nanninga, a fixture in the North County political, environmental, arts and business community, died of pneumonia yesterday at a La Jolla hospital (UT).

I was very sad to hear this news. Bob danced to the beat of his own drummer. He was a unique man in a town of unique people. Bob leaves a void in this town that nobody else will ever fill.

Actor and cafe owner cherished environment

Observations from the Edge


  1. Even though I spoke with Bob just a few times, he undoubtedly left an impact on me. He is a man who viewed life through global glasses, further than the bridge his own glasses rested on...he will be deeply missed here in Encinitas and on this planet! To those who knew him well, my sincere and heart-felt condolances.

  2. Well put Kevin.

    Bob- You are missed and I will always remember you fondly.

    Good Bye and my condolances to all that were close with Bob.

  3. Once in a while, I meet a person that I put into " friend" category. A person of character, strength, integrity, talent, humor, and willingness to give back to their community. This was the Bob Nanninga I knew. A friend and a mentor to me.

    I have many stories that I could share. However, a rather recent event struck me as the true Bob. It happened last May. I had been working with a 14 year boy in an attempt to strengthen is self-esteem, which at that time was very low. He often brought his guitar to my office, and gave me the rare privilege of allowing me into his world though his music. He did not believe that his poetry and music was good, no matter how often I told him. One day, I called Bob and asked if he would meet with us at E. Street Cafe. Without a second thought, he said "anytime." We set the time for the following week. Sure enough, Bob was there at 2PM. For the next 2 hours he listened, and commented on the boys music and writing. He offered praise, constructive comments on how to improve, and suggested he play at E. Street some evening. At the end of the 2 hours we had to leave. The boy could hardly speak through the tears of gratitude in his eyes. He thanked Bob and they hugged. We all smiled that day. Bob did more in those 2 hours for this young man that I could ever have done with him in my office. As I write this, Bob is soaring in the heavens Most likely he is telling the Almighty how to "go green." Take care, my dear friend. You will be missed.
    Lorri Greene

  4. Bob gave me a voluminous list of native plants and trees at the last meeting about the Streetscape that the Chamber held at the library. I will carry a small torch for him with that list. He definately made his mark on Encinitas - and reduced carbon footprints by raising people's environmental consiousness near and far. One talented speaker, and one fun MC at all the Poetry Slams. Hugs to all who loved him, but I know he'd appreciate me shutting up now and ending with one of his quotes: "Blah blah blah blah blah".
    Thank you Bob for your years of caring for Encinitas and especially Leucadia (as evidenced by your tireless attendance at countless city meetings and helping create the coolest coffee shop in town.) Rest in peace my friend.

  5. PATRICIA DOLCE TAYLORFebruary 15, 2009 3:07 PM

    As a libertarian conservative, Bob and I debated on many occasions and surprisingly agreed with a whole lot more. I voted for him in the last election because whilst as Bob would say" I'm so far left and your so far right we somehow meet in the middle." I respected and admired Bobby enormously and always felt he was a truly heartfelt and open-minded friend to our community.

    It's strange I saw him in January giving him the opportunity to further gloat on the Obama win and haggle over the stimulus plan. I thought of him just this past Thursday, when I had an idea concerning his continual fight for the environment and I thought, "I'll bring that issue up with Bob, next time I see him, and see what he say's." Bobby always loved a good debate and expanded and challenged my own opinions and ideas. I am shocked and saddened to hear he is gone.

    I first meet him when we both sat on an Action Committee formed by the City Council over 10 years ago that has since been disbanded, and when I told him he seemed like a Bobby too me, He groaned " can call me that just don't let it get around." We were often at City Council meetings in the audience and we would chat about Vista where I had lived for 10 years and when he found out I was a former actress/dancer he encouraged me to do Poetry Slam and do a conservative slam to rile up the crowd and “have all voices heard.,” as he would say. I said “geez Bob, you trying to get me killed!”

    As a downtown resident I frequented “E” St. to catch a cup of some great java and for Bobby to enlighten me on any given subject. Which he frequently did with gusto….and I loved him for it. lol…..My husband would say to me “ you sure were gone a long time,” and all I had to say was, “I saw Bob,“ and that explained it all!
    My thoughts and blessings to his love, partner and family and friends. He will be missed. A bright Star has gone dark.....
    Peace Bobby

    PaTricia dolce Taylor

  6. Through a good friend I got to meet Bob. What a friendly guy, cool cat, gracious host. I'll never forget dancing all night to the Wig Titans at a party at Bob's one night.
    Happy Trails Bob
    you will be missed.

  7. The students and teachers at many Encinitas schools were treated to Bob's brilliant acting gifts. He made an amazingly positive difference and will forever have made an impact on their lives. Thank you, God, for sharing Bob with Encinitas! He will be forever missed!

  8. I will miss Bob. In addition to his local and environmental concerns, he was ethical, creative and friendly. He was open to different ideas, he just didn't like people spelling his name wrong. I hope that the next park in Encinitas can be named for Bob--perhaps the native plant section of the Hall Property can be the Bob Nanninga Memorial Garden.


  9. I have known Bob since since we were kids.... he was personality with a capital P, with the courage of his convictions and a huge heart.


  10. The first thing I did when I would pick up a fresh copy of the Coast News was turn to Bob's column. It just seems wrong not to be able to do that anymore. RIP Bob.

  11. We will miss you Bob .Leucadia will not be the same without you.

  12. Bob is gone? We are sitting up here in northern Cal trying to take in this seems an immeasurable loss for Encinitas, probably more than we all yet know...We dug him from the moment we met him at a party at his house some years back, and always appreciated bumping into him around town and hashing out some issue at length. Bob, you made a lot of sense! and you cared a lot. We will miss you, and your passionate advocacy for our home, this precious planet...peace, Vijnan & Rania

  13. Bob taught us all about caring, educating ourselves, and taking action.

    He was a wonderful writer, a friend in need, and a good man.

    You will be greatly missed. My condolences to family and friends.

    Bob was kind and encouraging to me from when I first contacted him, after reading one of his excellent columns in the Coast News.

    I am still in shock over learning about your passing. Your spirit lives on in the love we share.

    Thank you, Bob, for all the seeds you planted.

    Peace, peace, deep peace.

  14. Just before the last election, I was having some difficulty deciding about who to vote for, with so many good candidates and only three votes. Bob's passion for the environment impressed me, though that same passion also made me wonder how he would do as a member of the council. So I sent him an email that said:

    The Hall property park is very important to me. With the council being split the way it is, this election could have a big impact on how it is developed, so I'm interested to know your position on the two votes last night. Would you have voted Yes or No on the two motions?

    Bob called to talk about the Hall Park votes and many other issues. It was a great chat, classic Bob, where you really didn't have to wonder where he stood. The Reply he sent later, which came from Robert Tjaart Nanninga, said this:

    Thank you. Our conversation this morning has me thinking about the 3-2 split. I'm a 1 of 5 guy. I see the council as 5 individuals elected to manage the municipal affairs of Encinitas. Compromise and concensus should be the goal of all council discussions. My strong suit is environmental stewardship. I favor historic preservation, the arts, and walkable communities.


    We should remember Bob and the goals he mentioned in the email, especially since his work toward them is now through.

  15. Bobism #1

    Scene: City Council goal setting meeting 2007

    Speaker: "You know, we're all going to die someday..."

    Bob: "Everybody except Cher!"

  16. I was there that day, Mary. Absolutely classic one liner.

    That was the funniest thing I have ever heard at a Council Meeting!

    Cheers Bob! Too a colorful world!!

  17. Was so sad to hear this news. Could always wander into the cafe and be sure to be educated on a host of issues just by asking. I really appreciated his sharp wit and willingness to share. He left a lasting imprint, and a empty space in our community

  18. All I can say was that we had a blast knowing Bob, on the LTC going up against the 'Big Developers' and doing our little part to keep Leucadia 'funky'. Bob will be an unforgettable highlight to Encinitas' history, color, imagination. I hope the conscience of our city leaders will feel his presence and passion for a very long time.
    His willingness to step up to the plate for his beliefs was legendary and inspirational! Didn't you just have to love him, no matter how you felt about him??? We did. C&C Mayne

  19. Bob, "What About Bob", one of our favorite movies. I am very pleased that I had the opportunity to have known him. He worked with us on the Hansen/Machado Surf Classic for many years, and always did a fantastic job. I was shocked to hear of his passing, and I will miss his kindness, wit and friendship. Very few people I have ever known were as compassionate and dedicated to what the believed in. I will miss you Bob, I hope the rest of your journey is peaceful.


  20. If I were writing on Bob's tomb, and it could read as if he were speaking, it would say:
    "The air is too precious too pollute, and the sea, is too precious to poison."

    I am already missing you my friend. I had a question for you today, and started to call. A very strange moment---

    Lorri( AKA, DOC)-Bob's term for me.

  21. Shorthand for Robert

    A two act life
    Of birth and of death
    Robert Tjann Nanniga
    Would not accept

    Contagiously effervescent
    And unrepentantly green
    A ring master, actor and
    community machine

    He challenged us all
    Invigorated the process
    Stood his ground logically
    With no time for nonsense

    He advocated life
    And what life’s all about
    A community of people
    where each has a shout

    Dear Bob we will miss you
    Your wit and your vision
    Bless you and good luck
    On your next assigned mission

  22. Dig This Man

    Dig this man.
    You took a simple phrase
    and amazed us through the haze
    of crazy life
    and those words slung, flung, and sung
    around any room where you peppered
    the unsuspecting air with syllables

    Dig this man.
    Talk all you want about butterfly wings
    and hurricanes,
    but when you started slinging, flinging, and
    you sparked the hard, gem-like flame of life,
    of thinking, of conscience.

    Dig this man.
    You were wrong about the 21st century thing
    because you underestimated the power of
    because your words will defy time,
    cannot be contained by a single century,
    will not rest quietly by the wayside.

    Dig this man.
    While you're taking the long dirt nap
    with the beautiful worms (who you would also
    name like you named your trees)
    your words will continue to make the smug
    incumbents squirm with the nagging
    discomfort of truth told right,
    spoken straight.

    Dig this man.
    I can already hear your bones
    rattling for the next battle with whoever
    or whatever you find on the other side
    where the complacent take anything for

    Dig this man.
    Here's a toast to the host on the coast.

    Dig that man.

    Jim Babwe

  23. Amazing talent we have right here in our own backyard. Bob would have loved this, if it were someone else. In fact, he really didn't like taking credit for things, although it would to be hard to know, if you didn't know him. There is a Parks and Recreation Commissioners meeting tonight. I am going to suggest we honor this years EED to Bob! Everyone OK with that. If not, oh well, I'm going to ask anyway.

  24. There is an obituary about Bob in today's North County Times. Hopefully, there will be another ceremony of his life. Unfortunatly, I couldn't make the one on Sunday. I think the next bronze statue we put in this City, should be one of Bob. It would be a great way to memorialze this wonderful man.

  25. May your crossing be easy and joyful, Bob. Thank you for all that you did while here in human form.

  26. LJ - I have known Bob since college days and he was a fine wine that improved with age. I will miss him.

    Windows open and you fly in,
    With you usual grin.
    Windows close and you fly away,
    But your legacy will stay and live on . . . .
    ~Goodbye dear friend~

  27. When I moved to Encinitas from Texas a little over two years ago, Bob was one of the first people I met since one of my first ventures was to open mic at E-Street cafe with my sister. I was a very shy aspiring songwriter, and it was Bob's enthusiasm and encouragement that led me far down this path.

    Thanks to Bob, my sister Carrie and I performed at many of his solstice parties, Encinitas Environmental day and we continued to perform at E-Street as much as we could. Now just a couple of years later, I am booked for SXSW in Austin in March, and I know that without Bob's sincere enthusiasm and vocal appreciation of my music, I would not have taken this dream this far.

    He made me realize that doing what I love can be more than just a hobby. It always seemed that Bob was doing what he loved. I never met anyone more alive. I will miss him.

  28. Bob Story #1

    Bob called us one day and asked if we wanted to visit Box Canyon in Carlsbad, and since I'd read so much about the place and the controversy about filling it up and building another horrible, sterile, Rancho Crustal sub-division, I agreed ,and was eager to check it out.

    Bob showed up at our house with a friend from Santa Cruz, a very nice lady, but she seemed to be a little frail, and, as an experienced hiker, I immediately expressed my concerns about the
    the terrain, but Bob assured us there was a path and it would be easy and safe.

    So we drive up to some posh neighborhood in La Costa, park the car, pile out,and start walking over a barren field and Bob says, "You know, we ARE trespassing, so we'd better go this OTHER way." At first it was no big deal, but as the brush became thicker, and we trampled over many native plants, I suddenly realized this was pure folly, especilly when I saw a nice path acoss the ravine from us!! We kept going though, because it seemed pretty managable, and I wasn't sure how much tresspassing I was doin'.

    My husband and I trudged on as Bob and his pal scampered in front of us. I must say, I was astounded at their energy. Although I never considered him to be that "buff", on this walkabout he was a friggin' Olympic Gold Medal Monkey Boy.

    As we got deeper into the canyon, the trail became narrower and steeper and more dangerous. Wet slippery mud and loose gravel. We're talkin' an easy 25 foot drop if you slipped. And if you fell-good luck. I looked at my husband and said, "I am not going another inch. THIS IS CRAZY. There's only one way out of this and that is...UP."

    So we both crawl up a 90 degree cliff, barely made it-I was stuck at one point and was shaking in fear...then we scaled a 6 foot chain link fence and I ripped my jeans. I was hot, dirty, scratched, and I don't think I've ever been more furious with anyone in my life.

    On the ride home I needed no excuse to berate, bawl out and besmirch Bob Nanninga, and I did so with relish. I was PISSED OFF!!

    However, usual..., in the fifteen minutes it took to get back to my house, everyone was laughing, and all was forgiven.

  29. Rest in PEACE, ironic you should go to Heaven on Valentine's Day, what with that big Heart of yours...I love how we first connected over one of my many political t-shirts I wore to your coffee shop..."Make Levees, Not War" as I was from New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina...that was a wonderful conversation while others waited in line...but we didn't always took the time to talk and listen where the environment was concerned...

    Encinitas has lost its shiniest star...but I see you up there twinkling in the night over Stone Steps beach...I'm glad to have known you...


  30. As a moral conservative I have fundamentally important disagreements with Mr. Nanninga, but on many points he was spot on, including:

    -environmental preservation,
    -native plantings,
    -small town preservation

    I visited his E Street Cafe when in the area and enjoyed the ambiance and the loose teas.

    However, I must say that during the summer I was extremely disappointed when an Irish kid on stage did an expletive laced tirade in front of families and children - and no one raised any sort of protest, just listened and smiled.

    Despite some liberal extravagances, Mr. Nanninga had some excellent ideas and diligence in promoting awareness of them.
    Hopefully those good ideas will see action taken on them.

    City government - wake up!


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