I first met newscaster Loren Nancarrow in the early 1980s. I was a community activist in Encinitas, helping our unincorporated communities advance toward cityhood. When he would show up to one of our press conferences with his News 8 cameraperson, he always greeted me first, remembering me by name.
On December 30, over 1000 people showed up at Seaside Beach in Cardiff by the Sea to remember Loren's name with a memorial paddle-out. He lost his almost one-year battle with brain cancer on December 28.
With the beach crowd standing around pictures of Loren, his brother-in-law, Stephen Spegler, gave the eulogy of a man who was not only known as a reporter, weatherperson, news anchor, and organic gardener — his TV persona — but the “manifestation of a life well lived.”
As surfers and paddleboarders of all ages made their way out beyond the breakers, everyone I spoke with on shore used the same term when describing San Diego’s loss of a “great guy.” Some people just showed up, saying they'd never met the newsman but felt they knew him.
Mar Dels frontman Doug Allen said Loren “was very personable on and off camera. He taught us to accept the end with dignity and grace.”
Jane Schmauss, a director of the California Surf Museum, said she knew Loren through his wife Susie. “Susie used to babysit my kids when she went to San Dieguito High,” she said. “And now my son, daughter, and grandson are out in the water to honor him.”
Those of us who stayed on shore held lighted candles as the sun set. A large sailboat was placed between the surfers and the ocean’s horizon. As the sky darkened, the candles were placed in the sand, around a heart with Loren’s name written in the sand.
Perhaps the biggest compliment to Loren's work was reflected in the number of TV-news people who attended. In a media market like San Diego's, where there are seven TV stations competing for ratings, there is fierce competition for on-air jobs. Loren was on the air in San Diego for over 30 years.
Some of Loren's competitors showed up to honor his career, which started at KFMB (8); then he went to KGTV (10); he ended up an evening-news anchor at Fox5. Former KGTV anchors Hal Clement and Carol LeBeau were there, as were former KFMB reporter Chris Saunders, current KNSD (7) sportscaster Jim Laslavic, and several cast and crew members from FOX5, including fellow meteorologist/anchor Brad Wills.