Award-winning Orange County journalist and public relations executive Jerome F. Collins died Friday of complications from diabetes. He was 62.
Collins, a longtime Irvine resident, was a reporter for the Laguna Beach South Coast News and city editor for the Orange Coast Daily Pilot before joining the Irvine Co. in 1970 as public relations manager.
During his 18 years with the Irvine Co., Collins was involved with founding the Irvine World News newspaper and the New Worlds magazine. He was active in the successful campaign for the incorporation of Irvine as a city and subsequent school and park bond elections. He was also involved with the campaign for the establishment of Irvine Medical Center.
Collins, who spoke for the Irvine Co. to the news media, wrote an award-winning series of full-page advertisements explaining the residential land lease issue to the public during the early 1980s.
"For many years, Jerry was not only the voice of our company to the community, but he was also the conscience of the community in our internal deliberations," said Gary Hunt, executive vice president of the Irvine Co.
Collins retired from the Irvine Co. in 1988 for health reasons. He died at Irvine Medical Center.
Collins was honored for his work in both journalism and public relations. He received numerous awards from the Orange County Press Club for his work as a journalist and from the Public Relations Society of America for his work as a public relations executive. He served as president of the Orange County Press Club in 1966.
Collins was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and moved with his family to Compton. He was a graduate of Compton High School, Compton College and UCLA.
He is survived by his wife, Marcida Dodson, an assistant city editor with The Times Orange County; their two children, Jeremy, 8, and Alexander, 3; two grown children, Stacy Johnson of San Francisco and Neil Collins of Laguna Beach; his mother, Joanna Harris of Huntington Beach; two sisters and a brother.
Services are pending.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Diabetes Assn., 1570 Brookhollow Drive, Ste. 120, Santa Ana, CA 92705.