Sunday, June 21, 2009


IVANO SAYS: The following Remembrance appeared in the Santa Cruz Sentinel

Nicholas Roy Pagnini

Nicholas Roy Pagnini passed away on June 6, 2009 of Multiple Myeloma, a form of bone cancer. He fought the disease with tremendous bravery and an amazing positive attitude that we would expect from such a great man. Nick was born in Santa Cruz, CA on August 4, 1936. He was the son of Roy and Catherine Sinnott Pagnini of Felton, CA.
Nick began his education at Felton Elementary, a one room school house, where he attended up to the sixth grade. Being the fourth generation resident of this county and a young wanderer, he knew the Santa Cruz area like the back of his hand. He went on to go to Mission Hill Junior High in Santa Cruz where he formed many wonderful friendships to continue through the years. His Italian grandparents Rose and Nello Pagnini resided in Santa Cruz, near the SC Wharf, and he told many stories of great food, amazing surf, and warm family memories.
One of Nick's passions was surfing. He traveled up and down the California coastline to find the perfect wave and to be with friends. With wetsuits not yet invented, he would say, "I surfed before hypothermia was invented." On his travel to Hawaii in 1955, he would be transformed and his love of the Isles emerged. He loved the warm salt water, the slack key music, and the food. Nick would travel to Hawaii many times after this with his family and he passed on his deep appreciation of the Isles to them.
Nick graduated from Santa Cruz High in 1954 and was all CCAL in football, a sport that he always loved. Upon graduation, he worked for the California Department of Forestry in Corralitos, CA and attended Hartnell Junior College where he also played football. He returned to forestry work, but in the fall of 1955, Nick was off to Hawaii to pursue his passion for surfing. Also in 1955, Nick returned to California to attend Orange Coast Junior College and to work at Disneyland the first year it opened. He was always proud to say that Uncle Walt Disney signed his paychecks. In 1956, he joined the United States Marine Corps and attained the rank of Sergeant. He was tremendously proud of this accomplishment and enjoyed being a member of the Marine Corps League Detachment #711 Monterey Bay. Nick also loved his continued connection with the SCHS class of 1954 and looked forward to attending the monthly luncheons.
In 1958, Nicholas returned to Felton and the community he cherished. He worked for his father at Roy's Market, a family owned business since 1936 currently New Leaf Market. Nick married Beverly Sommer, SCHS Class of 1955, in April 1959. Dana Pagnini, their first daughter, was born in 1960 and their second daughter, Jennifer Pagnini-Gedymin Mark, was born in 1973. He is survived by his two daughters and many cousins.
Further demonstrating his commitment to the community, Nick joined the Zayante Fire Department in 1976. He was an EMT and a Captain during his time with the ZFD. Nicholas was not only an officer, but a well respected mentor to the young fire department recruits who wanted to join Zayante Fire's finest. Through the years, Nick would return home with interesting stories of emergency calls and always expressed his concern for the local people who needed his assistance.
Nick coached one of his favorite sports, football, at San Lorenzo Valley High for the freshmen teams. Throughout the years, Nick was an active supporter of the SLV and Santa Cruz High Booster Clubs. He also attended local high school football and track events to cheer on the many dedicated athletes.
He was also, for recognition of his incredible community involvement, awarded San Lorenzo Valley's Man of the Year Award in 1979. In many peoples hearts, Nick is the man of the century.
When he sold Roy's Market in 1990, Nick certainly didn't retire and continued to remain busy as ever. He was not only active with the Zayante Fire Department but also managed the Trout Farm for a few years. Since people couldn't talk to him at Roy's, the Trout Farm was a good place to catch up with their favorite local personality. He loved being the person that people could turn to for whatever they needed. Nick did this with his whole heart and no agenda.
Nick was a loving and kind person who gave 110 percent to his family, friends, and community where he grew up. He had deep roots to the local area and dedicated his life to serving its people. He enjoyed great company, good food with a nice cold beer, and a hearty laugh. Always taking the time to help and listen, he touched many people's lives in so many ways. He will always be with us, but his physical presence will be forever missed. Thank you, Nick, for everything.
The Pagnini family would like to extend their thanks to the Veteran's Administration Hospital at Palo Alto. The doctors, nurses, and the hospice unit provided Nick with respectful, wonderful, and compassionate care. For eight years, thoughout Nick's treatment, the oncology staff gave him first class attention to allow him a full life while managing his cancer.
Our family would also like to thank the Zayante Fire Department for all the love and support. We consider the members to be our extended family.
In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Nicholas Pagnini Memorial Fund will be appreciated. This fund will provide for local athlete scholarships. You may send your contribution to the Pagnini Family at PO Box 336, Felton, CA 95018. For further information, you may also visit the fund's website at:


As Nick's Remembrance states, he was married to Beverly Sommers, SCHS Class of '55. I think the article above says it all about Nick. I enjoyed talking with him at the SCHS Class of "54 lunches and picnics. He always had an encouraging word to say about my attempts to keep the memories of Santa Cruz and "La Nostra Costa" alive Thanks, Nick. I will miss you.



One item missing from Nick Pagnini’s obit is that he is in the San Lorenzo Valley High School Hall of Fame. Nick told me he was selected because of his years of coaching and being president of the SLV High Boosters Club for many years.He also was often referred to as the "unofficial mayor of Felton."Nick not only was among seven SCHS Class of 1954 members interviewed by KTEH-TV for the San Jose PBS station's "This Is Us" show telecast on May 31, he also also among a number of Santa Cruz oldtimers interviewed for the Santa Cruz Boardwalk's 100th anniversary DVD in 2007, which has been shown on KTEH and on KQED, San Francisco's PBS station.

Len Klempnauer, Capitola - SCHS '54
PHOTO SHOWS: Nick (on the left) being interviewed for KTEH-TV - 2009
[Photo courtesy of Len Klempnauer]


DIANE S. SCHS '55 said...

Thanks so much for the notice about Nick. He was SUCH a favorite of mine at our lunches - always had me laughing. He will be greatly missed.
Hope you're well. ds

Alice Cooley said...

I am so sorry to learn of Nick's passing. Bernd and I always enjoyed our time with Nick and Bev. All my best wishes and love to Bev and the girls.
Love, Alice Cooley

Sonja SCHS '55 said...

Thanks Ivan for sending on the article about Nick. I have talked to Bev and reminisced about Nick. Good memories. The article brought back many memories. Sonja

Pagnini Memorial said...

Thank you so much for posting dad's obituary. Mom gave me the dates and I tried to encapusulate a wonderful life in some paragraphs. It is so great to hear that my dad was so loved and appreciated.

aldopenn said...

What a special person and dear friend. Thanks for posting Nick's story. I was out of town the article in the paper.
A loss for us all.
Love and good thoughts to you Bev and family.

Warren "Aldo" Penniman

Bruce Hansen said...

I remember Nick well, especially from his football days. He always had a smile and was a great friend to many. Condolences to Bev and the girls. He was a great man. I live near the Palo Alto VA Hospital and wish I could have visited him there.

Bruce Hansen

JACK S. SCHS '55 said...

Hello Ivano- Thank you again for being so consistent with the SC High School news. Another heart wrenching loss. Nick was like a brother to me when we played together for 2 yrs on SC Cardlets. It was Nick, Tommy Silva and I was behind both of them. Nick and I really bonded. We had some great moments together. I can remember the night we beat Monterey over there. Nick and I were actually dancing together in the locker room. What a tremendous guy! He was the Man of the Century for SC County. We all loved him and will never forget him. Could you please put this on the blog? Multo grazie. Il tuyo fratelo. Jack Spurlock

Pacifica Pagnini said...

I've put the This Is Us class of '54 program on
in case anyone missed it. It is also on Youtube- just type in KTEH and it will direct you to their channel