Honoring the dead

Nathan Bauer said of himself, in this week’s Streetalk: “I’m not really a person with supernatural inclinations.” But he was a “very spiritual person,” says his friend Luis Jimenez.

Luis and Nathan were colleagues at American River College. Both worked at the Current, the student newspaper, where Luis serves as editor-in-chief. It was Luis—also a contributor to SN&R—who interviewed and photographed Nathan for this week’s Streetalk. It was through Luis that we learned Nathan, who was 33, died Sunday of a sudden heart attack.

Luis had known Nathan for only four months, since Nathan came to the paper. “But we saw each other four days a week,” Luis says, “and you know how a newsroom is—you become like an extended family.”

Nathan had told Luis and Rachel Leibrock—a former SN&R editor and now a professor at ARC who oversees the Current—that after years of trying a variety of majors, he had found his home in journalism. Having dealt with a spinal condition all his life that required him to use a wheelchair, he liked the fact that he could do his own reporting and writing without assistance. “He found his independence in journalism,” Luis says.

Here in the SN&R newsroom, we were stunned to learn of Nathan’s passing, even though none of us had ever met him. It did not seem right that his photo and quote should appear in our paper with no mention of his death. It also seemed somehow appropriate that we acknowledge him in this issue, which also includes a bunch of stuff about the celebration of death that is Día de Los Muertos.

In our Arts & Culture lead this week, some local Día de los Muertos artists explain why it’s important to honor the dead. In this small way, we want to honor Nathan Bauer.