Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Supe candidate remembered fondly

OAKLEY — Beyond his reputation as an ambitious politician seeking to unseat a county supervisor, Erik Nunn was known as an East County advocate committed to God, his family and his country.

The 37-year-old licensed pilot was killed in a single-engine plane crash Saturday afternoon outside Las Vegas, which also claimed Nunn's wife, Tanya, and 36-year-old BART police Officer Craig Wilson and his wife, Michele. The couples were returning from a trip to celebrate their wedding anniversaries.

"My brother was a man of integrity," Brentwood resident Jason Nunn said. "He never lost track of God and his family. He put people before himself."

The Oakley Planning Commission leader was also the pastor of a local church and chief financial officer of the Brentwood construction firm American Underground.

The Nunns leave behind three daughters and one son ranging in age from 3 to 9. Jason Nunn said both sides of the family are strong and pulling together at this difficult time.

"We are all focused together," Nunn said. "We are just trying to get through this."

Nunn was running for county supervisor of District 5 for the second time against incumbent Federal Glover. After finishing second in June's primary, Nunn was set to face Glover again in a November runoff.

Family and loved ones said the campaign with Glover, which grew increasingly bitter, didn't reflect the complex person Nunn was.

"There was a bias against AdvertisementErik," said Jim Frazier, a fellow planning commissioner. "As he was portrayed, it wasn't true."

Oakley officials said Nunn was a charismatic leader with a bright future.

"He was a huge advocate for Oakley, and that will definitely create a void for Oakley. He was just authentic to his beliefs and passionate about it," said fellow planning commissioner Iris Obregon.

In Oakley on Monday, black ribbons were tied around Nunn campaign signs and City Hall. Nunn and the other victims were memorialized on the city marquee. Nunn will be honored at Saturday's Cityhood Celebration and future civic meetings.

Oakley City Councilwoman Pat Anderson said he was a family man and community leader.

"It is a loss for a much bigger community than the city," she said. "There was always a hint of a smile in his face. He was comfortable in his own skin and happy."

The Liberty High School graduate lived most of his life in East County. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and was a county public services officer and an Antioch reserve police officer.

"He was always very responsible. Between being a leader and being responsible, that attracted people to him," longtime friend Aaron Meadows said. "He was running for a job that had tremendous responsibilities, but he was more than capable to handle it."

As the pastor of Oakley's New Lifeline Ministries Church, Nunn was committed to providing for the needs of its 70 to 80 members. He and his wife were both devoted to public outreach and foreign exchange, and traveled to Mexico to build homes.

"He just wanted to bring the community together in unity. That was his main focus as a man of God. He was always happy, joyful and a spiritually strong individual," Brentwood pastor Jerry Dellinger said.

Meanwhile, BART police wore mourning bands over their badges to grieve the loss of Wilson this week. The 36-year-old BART officer was Nunn's neighbor and friend.

"This is a tremendous loss to the BART police family," BART police Chief Gary Gee said in a news release. "Officer Wilson was a bright, dedicated and promising member of the force. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his family in their time of grief."

Family members and friends shuffled between the Nunn and Wilson homes Monday afternoon to offer their condolences. The Nunns were celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary in Las Vegas, while the Wilsons were marking nine years of marriage.

"They have traveled all over the world," said Wilson's brother, David Wilson. "This was such a freak accident."

Wilson described his sister-in-law as bright and positive. She was a 37-year-old flight attendant. The couple leaves behind three children.

"You start looking at them, and it really tears you apart," Wilson said.

Jason Nunn said his brother loved flying, camping, hunting and being outdoors.

"My brother was a very passionate person toward life," he said. "His passions were his wife, who was the love of his life, his kids, and he also loved his community and country."

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