I can’t say Nakanishi and I were friends. I met him while I was working on a story years ago, and he gave me some court documents I needed.
I reminded him of our previous meeting when he introduced himself to me during the campaign, and in his usual gracious and quiet way he apologized that he didn’t remember meeting me all those years ago, and we laughed about it together.
As a candidate for the Lassen County Superior Court judge’s seat vacated by the retirement of F. Donald Sokol, Nakanishi ran a classy and dignified campaign — a campaign fitting for a judge, and he presented himself well at different community forums.
Obviously his approach, his honesty and his integrity struck a resounding chord with Lassen County citizens who propelled him into the November runoff race even though he had little name recognition when he threw his hat into the ring.
He quickly garnered lots of support and weeks before the election people started calling him the dark horse candidate in the race.
He not only impressed the citizens of our county, he impressed me as well as an intelligent, thoughtful and knowledgeable man who would have made an excellent judge.
Five short days ago when I first heard the news he was in the hospital following a Father’s Day weekend incident on the Truckee River, I was absolutely stunned and dumbstruck.
It seemed as if everyone I talked to in the community had the same reaction. Details were few and far between, and as the rumors spread and his condition appeared to be more serious than anyone initially expected, a genuine concern and sincere reverence manifested itself in the community.
Susanville and Lassen County enjoy a justly earned reputation for supporting those less fortunate or those in need, but this was different and of an entirely different magnitude.
People everywhere were praying, hoping and wishing for Nakanishi’s speedy and complete recovery.
Except for a few boneheaded bloggers on the internet, no one appeared ready to accept anything but a happy ending to the story.
Despite the gloomy rumors everyone insisted on remaining positive and supportive of Jon and his family.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get the ending we wanted.
If I may be bold enough to speak for the community, we offer our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the Nakanishi family.
Jon was loved and respected by all of us here, and we share your loss. May God bless and comfort the Nakanishi family in this hour of their bereavement.
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