Jerry Kobrin, a columnist for the Daily Pilot, died Tuesday of a heart ailment and complications from diabetes.
Kobrin, 74, had been hospitalized for two months when he died at St. Joseph Hospital about 6:50 p.m.
"He was just a real good guy and a journalist to the core," said William Lobdell, editor of the Daily Pilot where Kobrin's column has run on Mondays and Wednesdays since 1991. "He acted like an old curmudgeon, but he was really just a teddy bear. His column was a mainstay of our paper."
A journalist for 60 years, Kobrin began his career as a sports stringer for the New York Daily News. Later, after serving in the Army during the Korean War, he started a paper in Redding, Pa., called The Record, which he edited and published.
After moving to Orange County in the 1970s, Kobrin went to work in public relations for the now-defunct Lion Country Safari, where he named a famous inhabitant "Frasier, the Sensuous Lion."
In 1979, the Orange County Register hired him as its metro columnist. More than a decade later he went to work for the Costa Mesa-based Daily Pilot, writing his twice-weekly column.
"It was a people column, heavy on humor with some biting sarcasm when it came to government officials," Lobdell said. "He had an intensely loyal readership. I'm going to miss him; he was just a perfect columnist and a great friend."
Kobrin, who lived in Newport Beach, is survived by his son, Jeff.