Noe Valley Voice February 2009

Dave Cannata Shared His Many 'Hidden' Talents

By Steve Steinberg

Dave Cannata, a longtime resident and co-owner of the Hidden Cottage bed and breakfast on Noe Street, died on Nov. 26, 2008. Cannata, who was 60, had been waging "a courageous battle" with cancer, his wife Ginger Karels-Cannata said.

David James Cannata was born in "Butchertown" (now known as the Bayview), a member of a close-knit Italian family. When he was a teenager, the family moved across town to the Portola District. Dave attended Polytechnic High School, once located near the site of Kezar Stadium, and later went on to study at San Francisco City College.

Ginger said he loved restoring old houses and was a specialist in hardwood flooring and painting. He and his best friend from childhood, Robert Duenas, owned the Earthquake City Painting Company in the early 1980s.

Dave and Ginger met when they were neighbors in Glen Park. They married in 1980 and had two children, Jason and Jessica, now 24 and 26. The couple moved to their Victorian home at 1186 Noe Street in 1979, and in 1995 the Cannatas turned the quaint farmhouse into a bed and breakfast. Hidden Cottage soon became a local landmark, noted for its peaked roof with antique weather vane, and red flowering bougainvillea. As the years went by, the two proprietors continued to live there, as well as take in guests.

According to Ginger, Dave never tired of improving the property. "He loved maintaining the old Victorian and was forever making it nicer," she said.

He also bought another Victorian on Elizabeth Street and fixed that one up as a B&B with three interior "cottages," called Island, Summer, and Cecilia.

Cannata loved Noe Valley, Ginger said, and was always walking to Tuggey's, the hardware store on 24th Street, to buy materials for his various building projects or to have coffee with friends. He also was a member of the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals Association.

Semi-retired over the last few years, Cannata kept busy installing windows and doors for neighbors on Noe Street.

The family spent their summers in Hawaii, where Dave taught his children to surf, sail, and camp. His kids were everything to him, Ginger said, but "he was not one to spoil them." Dave also refurbished houses that he had purchased in Hawaii.

Ginger remembers her husband as a man of "great determination, strength, and enthusiasm for life," who also loved to tell stories. "He was a wonderful man," she said, "a true San Francisco character, who could turn the simplest task into a fun adventure and then tell a hilarious story about it.

"He died too young," she adds, "and will be greatly missed by family and friends."

Funeral services were held for Dave on Nov. 29 at St. Philip's Church on Diamond Street. He is survived by his wife, children, brother Carl Cannata, and many other relatives and friends. The family asks that contributions be made in David Cannata's name to the American Cancer Society.