Herbert G. Klein, who was President Richard Nixon’s press secretary and spent more than five decades with San Diego’s Copley Newspapers, died Thursday, July 2. He was 91.
Klein, who lived in La Jolla, was the first White House director of communications in Nixon’s administration. He resigned in 1973, 13 months before Nixon stepped down amid the Watergate scandal.
Klein was born in Los Angeles on April 1, 1918, and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1940 from the University of Southern California. He began his career as a reporter at the Alhambra Post-Advocate.
When World War II broke out, Klein joined the Navy and was sent to San Diego, where he spent three years as a public affairs officer.
After the war, he became a special correspondent for Copley Newspapers, where he wrote features and editorials for the Evening Tribune and later The San Diego Union.
Klein was Nixon’s press secretary in three campaigns in the 1960s, taking leave from Copley Newspapers.
He was appointed Copley Newspapers’ editor-in-chief in 1980.
Mayor Jerry Sanders said “San Diego lost a good friend today.”
“Herb Klein touched all of us, whether we knew him or not, through his dedication to our city and its people,” Sanders said. “Like many who benefited from his wise counsel, I will miss Herb, but I’ll always remember the selflessness and optimism that guided him throughout his public life.
“Cities become great not because of the people who live in them, but because of the people who love them,” Sanders added. “San Diego was truly fortunate that Herb Klein loved it so much.”
Klein is survived by a daughter, Patricia Root; a brother, Kenneth; three grandsons, Tom Howell, Michael Mayne and Christopher Mayne; and three great-grandsons, Nick Howell, Zachary Mayne and Joshua Mayne.
Funeral arrangements were pending.