Here I sit, 24 years old, writing my father’s obituary on his banged-up old macbook that boasts an array of cool stickers, including the kayaker symbol he also had tattooed on his right shoulder. ‘SUSIE’ was tattooed on his opposite side. His stuff is all around me; a dad-scented sweatshirt across my lap, old photos of him with a big ol’ smile revealing his trademark diastema on the shelf to my right, his favorite headphones curled up on the table in front of me. But it’s not just his things that are here, he is here too.
Dad, we’re all going to be alright. We are at peace knowing you are now free. We miss you and love you forever and beyond.
September 27, 1953 – December 28, 2013
Loren Alan Nancarrow, longtime San Diego TV icon, organic gardener and conservationist, passed away Saturday, December 28, 2013 at the age of 60, following a courageous 11 month battle with brain cancer. Loren is survived by his wife, Susie, their son (Graham, 25) and their two daughters (Hannah, 24 and Britta, 20) and the love of an entire city. To his family, his friends and to the San Diegans that love him, he was larger than life.
Loren was a renaissance man, a guys’ guy who was as similar to Bear Grylls, as he was to Martha Stewart. A man who loved getting his hands dirty, as much as he loved arranging a centerpiece. He liked making homemade peanut butter and candles, vanilla extract, beef stroganoff…and did I mention centerpieces?
My dad was a kayaker, an organic gardening guru and a lover of wonderment. He enjoyed Bob Dylan, Jack Daniel’s and hot sake and was an avid collector of walking sticks, beach glass and beautiful german shepherds. My dad knew everything there was to know about citrus trees and roses and tomatoes, raising chickens and earthworms and monarch butterflies. He was a human Pinterest board.
Loren Nancarrow will be remembered as liberal but openminded, firm but kind, intellectual but hysterical. And he won’t mind me saying, he was a quiet but strong supporter of medical marijuana.
He was proud to be San Diego’s Organic Son.
We love you wonderful dad, husband, friend and hero: You are not gone, just gone ahead.
And you, dear friends, we love you and are forever grateful to you. With everything we have, thank you. I’ll leave you with the quote my dad lived by over these past 11 months:
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming ‘Wow! What a Ride!’”
― Hunter S. Thompson
Hannah Jane Nancarrow (your “Hammer Jane”)
I remember Loren from high school in Trumbull, Connecticut. He was older than me, a sophomore when I was a freshman. He hung out with a few boisterous and preppy guys. Even though he wore the same Izod shirts and boat shoes as his friends, he stood out with his confidence, huge smile, and willingness to chat with anyone about anything. Plus he was incredibly good-looking! Everyone adored him. It saddens me so to know that his light won’t be shining anymore on the world and all who loved him.
May he rest in peace. I knew him only by watching one of my gardening DVDs and I was stunned to find out that he had passed away 😦 his personality was wonderful and he was so knowledgeable.. I wish all the best for his family.
Just wanted to let Loren’s family know that we were talking about him yesterday. It’s because of Loren that every year, we have a great, sweet harvest of oranges off our tree. We always looked forward to Loren’s gardening tips. We didn’t only talk of him yesterday, we talk and think of him often. Thanks for sharing him with us. Quite a journey he took! ♡♡♡♡♡♡
To Lauren’s family, I woke up this morning to fox 5 news , saw Lauren’s wife and daughter , since I travel for work , was not aware of Lauren’s passing , I thought fox 5 had released him and hired a younger news person and was trying to figure out how to make a complaint , or at least try and figure out what station he was at now , he’s doing the weather in heaven for THE BIG BOSS ,sunny warm and the waves are perfect , Even though I never met him I’m sad to hear about his passing , GOD BLESS
I was just looking around for a place to send my friend Loren’s birthday wish out into the universe. He was always older, as my birthday is on the 28th. So my friend, hope you are throughly enjoying heaven, and sitting on a patio some where with my folks. Discussing flowers, and bugs and kids… Always, Jill
Although I am late in sharing my memories of Loren, I just learned of his passing and felt to compelled to share these few words in the hope they will help add to the picture of Loren in some way. I met Loren as a fellow Student in the Broadcast Program as Eastern New Mexico University in the mid-70s, and we shared many a broadcast on the news at KENW TV. Loren and I also went head to head trying to professionally beat up each other on competing radio stations in Clovis at one point or the other. He was a good friend, was a very helpful positive soul with a can-do attitude and an individual who made the impression of this young guy from New Jersey as an individual who had what it would taking to make it in broadcasting. Happily, my assessment was proven to be very “spot-on” as they say in Britain. Loren not only succeeded, he excelled as a broadcaster and did so while by any measure; was regarded as a good person, loved and known by many. My father believed that what really lasts after one’s life was not material accomplishments, but one’s reputation and the good deeds you leave as a legacy for those who remain. Although I was not able to work with Loren after Eastern with us divided by a continent; it is clear that he was a remarkable man and a great role model. One has faith he is in a better place, and undoubtedly broadcasting is missing one of its practitioners who have raised the bar in our industry.
God Speed Loren,
Clinton, New Jersey
I was just looking for some help on how to up my game in terms of growing tomatoes and was plumbing the depths of the online videos about the subject on Your Tube. When I got tired of the generally badly produced and redundant videos I decided to search by “most viewed”. Imagine my delight and surprise when Loren popped up and showed me things I never knew and in a high quality segment to boot! It was a joy to see and hear him again and I know he has the best tomatoes wherever he is gardening now.
To the Nancarrow Family, I wanted to express my condolences, I am so impressed with the grace and Dignity you have all Embraced through Loren’s journey to Heaven! I met him years ago from a roomate that worked with him. I would occassionaly run in to him at Cardiff beach filming the weather. He was always so sweet, enagaging, sincere and “DOWN TO EARTH’. Susy you were there once, and just as amazing and so willing to enagage. I thought you were such a great couple together! I look forward to attending some of your event’s to contribute to Loren’s healing garden
Just a quick post to share an experience I had yesterday…
I was wearing my Nancarrow Project baseball shirt when I went to a big box hardware store. I was standing in the garden department (outside of the main building with a partially open roof) in the compost bin section when a monarch butterfly flew over to me and landed on Loren’s face printed on my shirt. I stood still for a long while and thought to myself, I wish the Nancarrow family were here to see this. Then I said a little prayer for Loren and his family. The butterfly lifted off and flew up and out of the gardening department … presumably to deliver my prayer. I turned and saw the woman at the cash register looking at me. When I checked out with my purchase a few minutes later she asked, who is that on your shirt? I told her just an angel who loves to garden.
This gave me “goosies”. After my dad passed, I went out to the end of Point Loma to overlook the ocean area where we had scattered his ashes. I talked with my dad for about 45 minutes and then at the end said it would sure be nice to get a sign that he had heard me. Immediately I felt something under my blouse and instinctively reach down the neck. On my hand was a ladybug. She crawled out onto my thumb sitting there for about a minute. Then she flew off. In the entire time I had not seen one other ladybug. My dad was an entomologist. Lauren heard your prayer.
I lost my farther on the same day, 2013. He too was young (62). I like how you said he’s now free. That’s how I see it too! By reading his blogs, I can tell you they would have been friends had they known each other. Take care.
i just heard, my heart is heavy,he was a wonderful man,my thoughts and prayers are with his family….r.i.p my friend
Have been thinking about your dad, he will forever be in my heart. I met him at the fountain at Balboa Park doing the weather about 14 yrs. ago. Its as if it was yesterday. The Nancarrow family is in my thoughts, take care.
To the Nancarrow family, I am sorry about the loss of your husband and Dad. I had never met Loren but saw him om the news for the past 30some years. He was a part of San Diego and will be missed by many.
Because the holiday season is painful, forced to live on without our beloveds… I search for meaning living without my parents. So I go to this blog to read the quote you shared… and as I suffer in grief it is as if I hear my mom encouraging me that others are in pain as well… not just me. It has been 15 months now and there are strong days and really awful days… I trued so hard to stop the “ugly cry” for months. And when I did go there, as dark as that was it was a cleansing and healing. I share this because my heart goes out to you all. The dust settles and everyone goes back to their lives… But please know that in the post memorial quiet as the days move one, the Nancarrows are not forgotten … And Loren could never be forgotten. There is the excitement of the upcoming concert and naming if the garden which is such a blessing. But in those moments in a pause, know you are not alone. God bless.
Like so many people commenting here, while not knowing Loren “personally,” I always felt a special kinship with the thoughtful caring of Mother Earth he believed in and lived by. He was the inspiration for a chemical free lifestyle over twenty years ago, when the best I could hope for from friends and family members was a raised eyebrow, as I whipped out my natural cleaners and homemade ant traps. (Loren’s recipe always worked the best for those little buggers!)
I know his spirit will continue to breathe an unbounded joy for life into the hearts and minds of all who knew and loved him. My sincere gratitude to his lovely wife and children for sharing this wonderful man and his life’s journey with all of us. Of his many accomplishments, you are truly his most treasured legacy. My heartfelt condolences to all of you and to our SanDiego community as we collectively mourn his loss.
I was away at the holidays, visiting my family in Florida and I came back to hear about Loren’s passing. I couldn’t believe it! Even though a few months earlier, I’d read his prognosis in his own words; somehow, I’d felt he would be the exception. I’m so sorry for your loss–our loss. Although we’d never met, I felt, like many others, that we were kin, somehow. He was a wonderful soul, my sorrow and empathy are with your now and for as long as it takes to “weather” the void his physical absence leaves…
I was a big fan of Loren and now of his family. Your writing made my day often over the
past months. I liked the phrase “not gone, but gone ahead”. The paddle out was lovely and will long be remembered. Love and peace to your family.
[…] Loren Nancarrow: September 27, 1953 – December 28, 2013. […]
Dearest Nancarrow family, I just saw this link through a friends FB page. and am so grateful I did! I just finished reading and listening to every entry. It truly made a impact on me. Thank you for sharing your family’s journey with all of us. It has truly opened my eyes to living each day to its fullest. It’s so easy to forget “not to sweat the small stuff” etc. I too never had the honor of meeting Loren in person. But as a local and small business owner in Leucadia somehow I felt like I knew him. Either through the news, or his various awesome works Loren’s skills were always a pleasure to watch. I would be honored to donate to the garden project. As well as telling my clients and friends about it. What a beautiful way to pay it forward. My thoughts and condolences are with you and your family. One thing I know for sure is Loren is forever with you all and very proud! Much love Jana🌊☀
To the Nancarrow family. I, too, am one of the many who never personally met Loren except through the magic of television. As I read all the other comments I feel like they express so many of the thoughts that I feel as well. .I thank you for sharing your family’s journey through this past year because I think that many people were able to learn the lesson of true love through your eyes and hope that you are surrounded by your friends who will help you recover and move on. I don’t know if you ever got the link to some sunrise/sunset photos that I sent to Loren’s blog in a message a month or so ago, so I will include it here if I may be so presumptuous. I took most of them here in San Diego. I’d like to think he would have enjoyed them.
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.698993663451694.1073741874.100000232001447&type=1&l=ac011519d5 Warmly, Annie
I live in NY now but have been following this blog since a friend of mine told me about Loren’s battle! I lost my mom a few months ago quite suddenly and felt such a connection to the posts that have been written. My sister asked me what I would tell my mom if I could…my only thought was “we will be ok Mama” and I am sure Loren is looking down at all of you knowing “you will be ok” my heart hurts for you but also smiles knowing you have eachother to lean on!
Our thoughts and prayers are with your family. We watched and admired your dad for years on the local TV! We too just lost a loved one to brain cancer. Our 19 year old nephew, an aspiring actor, passed in October after a 6 month battle w/a rare pediatric brain tumor so we know the pain you’ve been through and the loss you will continue to feel. You are not alone and your dad is still all around you — just in a different way. We feel our nephew still here with us too! The healing garden was a wonderful gift to brain cancer families by the way. Your dad would be proud! Thank you! The Morse Family ❤
After reading this tribute to your dad, I can be certain that Loren left this world knowing that he had made a difference. But more importantly, that he and Suzie had accomplished life’s greatest achievement …raising amazing children. God bless you all.
Thank you, so very much. Susie Nancarrow
Loren was such a light in our community. He was a true people person and had such a gift of making a person smile just by being in the same room with him even if it was his presence on the tv. The way your family has handled this journey has truly been inspirational. Loren left us with some great wisdom: there is always something to be thankful for, follow your passions be they great or small and most importantly it is better to do good for others than to do good for oneself. Godspeed Loren. May God bless you Susie and your entire family.
Blessings to the Nancarrow family. LOREN was a true gift to our city. We will miss him but never forget the joy he brought to our city. Thank you for sharing him with us 🙂
Loren is now one of the biggest angels watching over all of us! ❤ Thank you so much for sharing Loren's amazing journey. Loren's journey has opened our eyes to life. The whole Nancarrow Family has been absolutely incredible through Loren's fight. I am so proud of each and everyone of you….you are very blessed for the beautiful bond you all share……I know you will all "Carry On" in Loren's name. May God bless over each and every one of you! Hammer Jane please keep writing 🙂 Praying for strength and healing for all of you at this time. DSB Don't Ever Stop Believin'! xoxo ❤
Thank you so much. We won’t stop believing’. Much love. Susie Nancarrow
Thank you for sharing your father with me and all of his fans. He was always a joy to watch and kept us informed on so many things. He will be truly be missed in the community. Prayers that your family is at peace. May the days ahead be filled with your wonderful memories and love.
He was a beautiful soul. We San Diego peeps will always miss him
Very well written Hannah. Your family fought a very brave and dignified fight against brain cancer. Thank you for opening your hearts and sharing your very personal journey. I hope to meet your family at the next brain cancer walk so I can walk with you and your family and share experiences. Thinking of you always, With great admiration, Ann
Count us in for support always. Thank you Ann. Susie Nancarrow
Love you, Loren. Thanks for making the world a better place. Peace to you. And. . .thanks for helping me put the wine barrel in the trunk of my car at Home Depot!!!
Thank you Maryann… He did make a huge contribution and his work must have been done here. Too soon in our minds, but now it’s time for us to :
“One of the lessons I’ve learned in life is that happiness lies in discovering your passions and exploring them fiercely,” Loren Nancarrow
This man has touched many, including myself. I always looked forward to his broadcasts. He has been missed since leaving the air. Heaven has gained another angel and we have lost a wonderful soul on this earth.
To His family: Know that warmest wishes and love is being sent to you during this time. Your family has suffered a lot. I hope you find peace. Many blessings.
Thank you Rainy
GOD bless is all I can say.
I remember Loren of course from television but I really loved that I used to see him at garage sales occasionally,( including mine) and he would come and buy a few items he wanted and then we would talk plants. Lovely memories! My thoughts and prayers for the family and your post about your Dad, all of them really are beautiful.
I dragged him to garage sales and we both loved them for a while! My mom also died of a brain tumor at age of 43…she owned a 2nd have children’s shop in Encinitas (The Outgrown Shop) until she died. She would always drag us to garage sales, to buy baby’s clothes…. One of my favorite memories of Loren and I dating… he needed a queen bed frame, she found one for $20 and charged him $50 we always laughed about it…and began our love of garage sales together then 🙂
Much love to you in 2014! Susie Nancarrow
What a wonderful and peacefule tribute to your father…although I never had the chance to personally meet him – I feel like I have known him for years. I grew up watching him on TV and eventually following him on Facebook. As a third generation San Diegan…I just felt that he embodied all that was Diego. He was San Diego! I enjoyed his sunset photos and as an avid photographer I was pleased when he liked one of mine. It’s hard to let a good thing go. But somehow I just know as you know he is still around us shining down like an eternal sunset.
Thank you! Much love to you in 2014! Susie
That was such a beautiful dedication for Loren Nancarrow as he was truly Mr San Diego. We will surely miss his love for life and his love for anything grown from this earth. He might just have been “Father Nature”. I am writing you because our family shared the same beautiful spot at Cardiff when my husband passed away 2 years ago after being sick for 5 months. I miss him every day. God Bless you all🌻
Thank you Candace,
For writing. I’m so sorry for your loss of your beautiful husband. I’m sure you miss him everyday, I am understanding this now. Much love and happiness in 2014. Susie Nancarrow
God has welcomed you dear Loren HOME. You have been such a precious, intelligent, human, fun-loving, wonderful family man + an amazing news journalist and excellent natural gardener. Our sincere condolences to your darling Susie, handsome Graham, amazing Hannah & adorable Britta. Please know – Loren is truly at peace and and will forevermore be a grand angel watching, protecting, and gently guiding his dear family! Our love & my prayers for all of you dear ones in the Nancarrow family. Hugs, Susan & Julian Wise.
Blessings and peace to the Nancarrow family. I never met him, but my family and friends thought I knew him well. I would often remind them “Bring a jacket, Loren told me it was going to rain.” They would say “who’s Loren?” And I would reply “Loren Nancarrow!” Then I would get the strange looks because everyone knew who he was, they just couldn’t figure out how I knew him. I always felt he was indeed reporting the weather to me personally. Loren Nancarrow, a Class Act!
Loren was one of most genuine people I’ve had the pleasure of working with during my nearly 30 years in TV news. Always positive, even during the occasional live broadcast train wreck. He was a nice guy who truly cared about the people he worked with. I will always remember the last communication I had with Loren. It was in April 2012 via Facebook when we shared stories about our sons who are both musicians. I will miss the gentle soul who was Loren Nancarrow. God bless.
Thank you Louis,
Much love and happiness to you and your family in 2014.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts about your dad. As odd as it sounds, this wonderful, beautifully-written obituary leaves me with a smile, a feeling of love, and completion of a life well-lived. The sting of a loved one passing is balanced by words describing a life full of passion, and the family and community he shared it with. Thanks again – we will keep all of you in our thoughts.
Godspeed, Loren! Thank you for the smiles! Now on to the next great adventure!
I had the pleasure of learning about citrus trees from Loren in my garden. I fondly recall the few encounters we had and regret there weren’t more. Rest in peace one of San Diego’s finest!
Thank you John,
Much love to you and yours in 2014.
I met loren downtown in the gaslamp district once. I was new to the downtown area and didn’t realize he was in the middle of recording a news piece when I interrupted him. I was using some “colorful metaphores” loudly expressing my frustrations of being lost. Just then I notice the microphone, camera, and loren looking at me. I just insulted his beautiful city yet he just smiled and proceeded to give me directions and some gaslamp history. He noticed i was disabled and he didn’t care if i was frustrated. He was happy that i was outside exercising and trying to enjoy the city.
I thought he was a very kind person who genuinely cared, not just on camera. Over the years I’ve enjoyed his reports about organically controlling pests in house plants and gardens.
I was sad when I heard of his cancer and wanted to gain a better understanding of his ailment. I decided to do a little research into field reporters who either got brain tumors or cancer. I was surprised to see a rather high amount of articles relating to this. I was wondering if anyone else has looked into this.
I sort of looked into this… but didn’t get far. Thank you for writing.
Much Love to you in 2014.
Dear Nancarrow family. I never officially met Loren but he made me and most of San Diego part of his family. I want to thank you for sharing his journey and I want to offer my sincere condolences and my hopes and prayers are for all his family and close friends.
He taught me so much about the environment we live in and all about organic gardening but most of he taught me about how to live ones life to the fullest. As a nurse and a nurses perspective in regards to death and dying Loren showed so much grace and dignity which touched my heart truely.
We leave lived in Nothern California since 2001, however we were devoted followers of your father for our 27+ years in Olivenhain…he was delightful, spirited and in the end an inspiration…our prayers to your family…Bob & Marguerite
Thank you Bob. He was spirited and passionate about so many things.
Wishing you a happy, wonderful 2014. Susie Nancarrow
Dear Nancarrow family, I am so sorry for your sense of loss at Loren’s passing. He has truly been one of our local treasures and your family will forever be remembered for your generosity in sharing your lives and his journey with us all. May the love you have for each other console you until your best memories can replace the pain you are feeling now.
Thank you! Susie
My heart goes out to you all. Loren was an absolute prince indeed! I love his books and still look back at how I could not wait to hear him talk about his latest natural solution for any problem that arose in my garden and his weather reports! He will be missed! Thank you for all the updates these past months. God bless you Naccarrow family.
Thank you Adeline! Much Love, Susie
Wishing and praying for peace for Loren’s family members. I am grateful for Loren’s having shared his experiences with so many all through these past months.
Thank you Dan,
We are so proud of him. His bravery and openness, I believe will help others in the future, including his family left behind… nothing was left unsaid and for this we’re so fortunate and grateful. Best Wishes for a beautiful 2014. Susie Nancarrow
In all the time I spent watching Loren and wondering if he was as warm and authentic in person ,I got the chance to bump into him at Coronado as we were both marveling at the sunset and found out that, indeed he was…His joy at having such a beautiful life in such a beautiful place was the real deal…His sunset might have come but the glow is not diminished…bellalindajz
Dear Nancarrow family,
I stumbled upon news of Loren’s passing on tvspy.com. I do not live in California but I am in the TV news industry and I felt moved to write to you. Your words about his life are beautiful and it is clear he was a remarkably unique man. I love that he was San Diego’s organic son. He clearly lived a life full of passion surrounded by the people who deeply loved and appreciated him. Thank you for sharing his beautiful story. You are in my prayers as you celebrate his impactful life.
on sunday i found myself at the beach,walking in the surf when i saw a dog running in the surf in and out the joy on his face-then and their i decided to live next year as a dog- finding more joy and being in the moment. I thought of Lorens last post and the one before i thought i must go home and reply to tell him how much difference he had made in my life this last year. sadly i was to late as i read your blog when i got home. i will light a candle at sunset today and send thoughts to your family. i am not a religious person but do consider myself spiritual none of us can say what happens after our last breath- i do like the idea of energy- but this i do know for sure he will always be with you, in the sunset, sunrise, the ocean, the smell of his favorite food, memories and they will be with you forever.. thank you for letting us take this journey with you.
I love your analogy of living like a dog full of joy. Makes me smile!
Much love and light to you in 2014. Thank you for writing, Loren would have loved it and I’m sure he got this message! xoxo Susie Nancarrow
To the Nancarrow family and friends I offer my most sincere condolences. I’m not from San Diego, I don’t have a story to share about knowing Loren. I stumbled upon him quite by happenstance late last winter while trying to learn what I could about putting in my first vegetable garden come the spring. A youtube video about growing tomatoes had me wondering who the guy was…….so I googled him. Turns out it was Loren Nancarrow. Turns out he also kept a blog. He seemed like a smart guy and since I like “smart” I read a bit of the blog and opted in on being on the notification list as new posts were left.
I offered up my prayers over the months I’ve been following this blog. I’ve hoped and prayed and wished that there would be a remission, a cure, a miracle for Loren.
There were other plans in the works for him, though. And I’m sorry for that.
I’m envious of all those who knew him personally and I’m extremely sorry for each of you in your loss. I have no doubt you’ll miss him keenly but I also feel pretty strongly that he’ll never truly leave. He’ll be there in the moments that count; big and small. Something he said or did; some bit of wisdom he shared……it’ll come through.
Thank you all for sharing him with us as you did. We’re all a bit richer for the experience.
Thank you Karen,
To read his writings…is to know him.
Happy New Year and MUCH MUCH LOVE.
I didn’t know where to find this info then kaboom it was here.
Whoever edits and pubesihls these articles really knows what they’re doing.
Dear Nancarrow family. I, like so many others, only know your Dad as a TV personality and human encyclopedia on all that is good to eat and do in San Diego. “The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice”. -George Eliot May the Nancarrow Family be blessed with the many beautiful memories that your husband and father left in your hearts.
Dear Nancarrow Family. I had the privilege of sitting next to him in 1994 on a flight from the Tijuana airport to Cabo. He was such a doll and such a gentleman! He impressed me with his listening and HEARING skills and I never forgot our brief friendship. Every time I watched him from then on, I had that same feeling that I had been blessed for knowing such a smart, courageous and feeling, caring human being. I will miss him forever!