Nic Bonotto Obituary, Death – Nic Bonotto has died in his sleep on January 7, 2023, at the age of 44, at his home in Los Gatos, California, from ALS complications. Nic was born in Salinas, California, and was raised in the small rural community of Gonzales until the age of eight, when his family relocated to Napa. He was raised in an agricultural and environmental atmosphere, which influenced him throughout his life. He spent his childhood participating in sports, including skiing in Tahoe and Bear Valley with his family and friends.
He met his best friend, Paul Hartman, and the rest of the Napa boys after traveling to Napa. They got up to a lot of good-natured mischief, which he remembered for the rest of his life. Nic was a track and field athlete who set national records in the javelin throw. He also began snowboarding and enjoyed the sensation of gliding across the snow. He met his longstanding pen buddy and future wife, Suzie (Nishikawa) Bonotto, during a marine science camp on Catalina Island when he was in middle school. Nic went to Napa High School and was a student leader and honors student there. Nic enjoyed singing and belonged to the Napa High School Men’s Choir.
His passion of music prompted him to travel with the choir to Australia and New Zealand, and he attended performances all throughout the Bay Area, including Ben Harper events with the Napa crew. Pearl Jam was Nic’s favorite band. He went to a pottery class in his senior year and fell in love right away, planting a seed that would change his life. Nic was an outstanding overseas student. He didn’t want to miss out on any of the peaks, waves, or adventures. At UC Santa Cruz, he had access to all of these opportunities and more. Nic and Paul both attended Merrill College. There, he met two of his other greatest pals, Silver (Fahey) Hartman and Ryan Saca.
During the summers, Nic worked with his friends on the UCSC grounds crew and at a vineyard management and consultancy firm in the Santa Cruz Mountains. His interest in political science and education prompted him to spend a semester working for the Department of Education in Washington, DC. While residing with his pals on Laurel Street, he explored Santa Cruz, adjacent camping areas, the Grand Canyon, and Joshua Tree. Nic was an independent thinker who traveled to Europe on his own to explore. Nic worked for an educational non-profit after obtaining his undergraduate degree in political science. Nic began dating Suzie and relocated to San Diego for several years. Nic and Suzie got Luna, a rescue puppy, and spent their weekends at Ocean Beach, playing frisbee golf at Morley Field and dominoes in their backyard, and enjoying all that San Diego had to offer.
Nic chose to follow in the footsteps of his caring mother and became a teacher a few years later. He obtained his Masters of Education from the University of San Francisco and began his teaching career at Gilroy High School as a government and economics instructor. Mirra Schernock was a wonderful coworker and lifelong friend. They talked about music, particularly hip-hop, and trivia on their long drive from San Jose to Gilroy. Nic was a walking encyclopedia of bizarre stuff, with a knack for recalling song lyrics and musicians. Nic proposed to Suzie in one of their favorite places, Lake Tahoe, and they married in 2005 in the Santa Cruz Mountains, which would later become their home. In the company of many outstanding people, they developed a life full of love, experiences, and creativity.
Nic retained his love in ceramics by working at Blossom Hill Crafts in Los Gatos, California. He honed his pottery abilities and met new persons, such as Matt and Isabel Hoogland. Finally, he decided to combine his interests in teaching and painting in order to make a living doing what he enjoyed. He got his art credential before teaching art at Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, where he created a well-known ceramics studio and program. He liked teaching children about the faults and beauty of pottery. Nic worked at Wilcox with many committed professors and gained many beautiful friends, including Heather Morton and the Families Peoples, Haughney, Hardesty, and Kermode. Mason, Evie, and Ellie had a dedicated, compassionate, and loving father in Nic. He enjoyed being a parent and was always available to his children.
He enjoyed spending time with them doing activities they enjoyed or just ‘nuggling’. He enjoyed taking them on outdoor trips and teaching them to surf, paddle board, and ski. He demonstrated how to harvest grapes and make wine. He highlighted his passion of Bay Area sports, rooting for the 49ers, Giants, and Warriors. He instilled in them the value of kindness and charity, as well as curiosity, adventure, and individuality. In late 2019, Nic was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. (ALS) (ALS). ALS is a neurological illness that causes a progressive loss of voluntary muscle control, interfering with the ability to eat, speak, move, and, lastly, breathe. There is no current remedy. Nic was tenacious (affectionately called as stubborn) and refused to let ALS beat him. Even as his condition progressed, he made the best of what he could do by adapting and being active. He stayed to teach for as long as he could to give his children a creative outlet throughout COVID imprisonment.
With the help of incredible friends from the Bay Area, Tahoe, Napa, and beyond, his parents, and brother Vince and his family, he went on camping adventures in Tahoe and Santa Barbara, e-bike adventures to Yosemite and Monterey, regular trips to the beach and community pool, vacationed in Hawaii, and enjoyed Tahoe for skiing, boating, and camping. Nic never missed an opportunity to cheer on the 49ers and Giants, to attend Pearl Jam concerts and Bottle Rock, to make wine and cider, to go houseboating at Shasta, to explore Bend, Oregon, to raise money for ALS awareness and research with Team Bring da Ruckus, to watch all of his children’s sporting events and activities, or to spend quality time with his friends and family.
Nic was a strong enthusiast of nature in general. He grew raised in a natural area surrounded by farms, vineyards, and redwood woodlands. However, the ocean was his favorite. He was working on the water. He adored surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, and just being in the water and feeling the waves and currents wash over him. The beach was his happy spot, a haven of calm and leisure for him and his family, filled with love and memories. Nic will be buried in the sea so he can continue to enjoy the sun, ride the waves, and be free for the rest of his life.
Nic is survived by his devoted wife, Suzie, his three amazing children – Mason (12), Evie (10) and Ellie (8) – of whom he was so proud, his loving parents, Pam and Vince, his adoring older brother, Vince, and a plethora of fantastic family and friends who have been there for Nic and his family through good and bad times. Nic, you are immensely special to us. Thank you for being a part of our lives and contributing to a better world. A memorial service will be held in April 2023 at a site to be chosen. In place of flowers, donations might be donated to the following organizations: To make a donation to Nic’s children’s education fund, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-memoriam-for-the-family-of-nic-bonotto. To make a gift to ALS research at http://secure.alsagoldenwest.org/goto/InLovingMemoryofNicBonotto