LOCAL OBITUARIES

David Nuffer dies at 78; co-founder of San Diego public relations firm

In four decades as a public relations man in San Diego, David Nuffer rose to play key roles in the city's politics and tourism industry — but he never let those responsibilities keep him from playing the ukulele in the office, following the San Diego Padres to spring training, singing with mariachis in Hussong's Cantina in Ensenada or tracing the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway in Idaho, Paris and Havana.

"He really was a master at combining business and fun," said his son Larry Nuffer. San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, whom Nuffer advised informally, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that Nuffer was "one of the most cheerful guys I knew."

Nuffer, 78, died Thursday of pulmonary fibrosis.

Born Oct. 1, 1932, in El Centro, Nuffer met Mary, his wife-to-be, when both were still in high school there. After college at what is now the University of Redlands, Nuffer began working in public relations in the late 1950s. By 1974, he and his family had moved to San Diego and he had co-founded a public relations firm, now known as Nuffer, Smith, Tucker, that is among the city's oldest and largest.

He served as chairman of the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce (now the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce) in 1993. He chaired the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau's board of directors in 1997 and 1998. He also devoted time and money to the San Diego Jazz Party, an organization that supports traditional jazz, and was a minister ordained by the Universal Life Church.

His enthusiasm for Hemingway took him to France and Cuba to do research for a pair of self-published books. In 2010, Nuffer delivered a paper to a Hemingway Society conference in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Nuffer is survived by his wife of 59 years, Mary; daughter Sheri Roonan of Connecticut; sons Larry and Carl of San Diego; and six grandchildren. Services are pending.

christopher.reynolds@latimes.com

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