Community mourns young Richmond swim instructor’s death

Community mourns young Richmond swim instructor's death
Photo: fundraiser

The community is mourning the unexpected passing of John Nuss, a well-regarded 22-year-old Richmond city employee and Pinole Valley High graduate known as a friendly personality at the Richmond Plunge and Richmond Swim Center for more than five years.

Nuss was a lifeguard and taught swim lessons to children and adults, according to Richmond Mayor Tom Butt, who paid tribute to him at the end of Tuesday’s city council meeting.

“Many people knew him as the person who would open up the building for their morning swim,” the mayor said.

Nuss’ death stunned family, friends and coworkers. His brother Timothy also worked recently as a city lifeguard. In the last two years, he had struggled with an addiction that ultimately claimed his life on Sunday, Sept. 24, according to an online fundraiser set up to assist with funeral expenses.

“He had recently made tremendous progress towards sobriety but lost his battle on Sunday morning,” according to the fundraiser.

Nuss will be missed by local swimmers.

“Jonathan was my daughter’s swim teacher earlier this year and was so kind and patient with all of his students,” one person wrote on his fundraising page. “A wonderful young man.”

Another described him as “a really nice young man” who was “always friendly to the swimmers at the Plunge.”

Nuss swam many years with the Pinole Seals Swim team and graduated from Pinole Valley High in 2013, according to the fundraiser.

“The regular swimmers at the Plunge loved Jon, he would often let the cool ones swim for free,” loved ones said. “Jon was an amazing friend. He loved his pug ling ling, camping on the lake and making his friends laugh.”

He leaves behind his parents Terri and David, his twin brother Timothy, younger brother Samuel, girlfriend of six years Stephanie and many more who cared about him.

Viewing will be Friday, Oct. 6, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Rolph Park Drive in Crockett. The memorial is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 8, at 2 p.m. at Central Assembly Church in El Sobrante.


  1. I am very proud to be a citizen of Pinole for the last 27 years, raised both of my children here, now 22 & 26 years old. We call Pinole “our Village” because everybody looks out for one another. Our children know that, they grew up with a sense of comfort knowing the entire town is always there for them. And now with this tragedy we see our young adults group together for this local family and via a go-fund-me account have raised already $10,950 and another $1,200 from a raffle they held at our local Antler’s bar. Proud of these kids (now young adults), we raised them full of unconditional love and empathy. RIP Jon and sincere condolences to the Nuss family.

  2. Thank you for this article. We love and miss Jon dearly. I worked with him for the past 3 years at the plunge and he was the sweetest, most caring and goofy guy I have ever met. The plunge will never feel the same without him.