SAN BRUNO -- Jacob "Jack" Bluth, who presided over the sports pages of the San Mateo County Times during its post-World War II heyday, died Friday while surrounded by friends and family. He was 90.

Michael Kalagayan, a close friend of Jack and his wife, Teresa, said Bluth appears to have died of natural causes. Kalagayan recalled his late friend as an avid Giants and 49ers fan, a quick wit, and a gifted storyteller.

Bluth was born on July 20, 1924, in San Francisco. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve in the South Pacific during World War II.

After the war he began his newspaper career as an apprentice printer. He joined the Times in 1951 and quickly rose to sports editor. He served in that capacity until he retired in 1989.

Times columnist John Horgan covered sports part-time for Bluth for 25 years while also working as a news reporter. He recalled his former editor as generous and accommodating.

"The thing that was great about Jack was he allowed his writers a very long leash," Horgan said. "He allowed his writers to be creative, to actually write."

Bluth ran the sports desk at a time of rapid development for San Mateo County and the area's high school sports, which made his job increasingly important, Horgan said.

"That was the period of the paper's greatest growth," Horgan said. "The Peninsula was growing like crazy; they were opening new schools, and ad revenue was skyrocketing."


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Horgan added that Bluth was one of the first journalists to devote serious attention to the 49ers during their infancy in the 1950s.

Jack and Teresa married in 1943 and celebrated their 70th anniversary last year. Bluth is survived by Teresa and his brother Raymond.

The Bluths didn't have children, but they served as adopted grandparents to the Kalagayans' two sons, who are 12 and 8.

There will be a memorial service for family and friends at 11 a.m. on Aug. 5 at St. Bruno's Church, located at 555 San Bruno Ave. W. in San Bruno., followed by a reception. Donations may be made to the church in lieu of flowers.

Contact Aaron Kinney at 650-348-4357. Follow him at Twitter.com/kinneytimes.