James Thomas Bertken, a sportswriter for the Daily News of Los Angeles, has died.
Bertken, who was aboard a fishing boat to cover the most significant albacore run in the past decade, was apparently swept overboard early Friday after going on deck to overcome a bout with seasickness. Bertken, 36, was presumed dead after an unsuccessful U. S. Coast Guard search.
Bertken, an avid fisherman who had covered the outdoors for the Daily News since 1989, was looking forward to the trip, according to his wife, Louise Yarnall Bertken, of Van Nuys. “He was like a kid the night before the boat left,” she said. “He called and left a message and he was like, ‘Albacore tuna!’ ”
Born Sept. 14, 1958, in San Francisco, Bertken attended L’Ecole Notre Dame des Victoires and a Jesuit college prep school before enrolling at San Francisco Community College. He also attended Santa Barbara College and Ventura College. He soon landed a job writing for the Ventura Star Free Press, which led to his first full-time writing job at the Camarillo Daily News, where he met his wife. He worked at the Thousand Oaks News Chronicle before joining the Daily News.
In addition to his wife, Bertken is survived by his sons, Samuel Thomas and Matthew James Bertken; his mother, Mary Anne Neumayr Bertken of San Francisco; his father, Thomas Galen Bertken of Alameda, and a brother, John George Bertken of San Francisco.
A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Michael Landon Community Center, 24250 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu.
A trust fund has been established for Bertken’s sons, ages 4 and 5. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in care of the Daily News, P.O. Box 4200, Woodland Hills 91365-4200.