Sam Kinch Jr., the founding editor of Texas Weekly and a former political and government correspondent for The Dallas Morning News, died shortly after midnight, according to a spokesman for the family. He was 70, and had been battling pancreatic cancer, emphysema and congestive heart disease.

Kinch started Texas Weekly in 1984 with two friends, George Phenix and John Rogers. He sold his share in 1998 (the political newsletter is now part of The Texas Tribune) and retired to write, travel and enjoy his family.

He was a terrific reporter and mentor to other journalists, irreverent, smart as hell, a great lover of dirty jokes, full of history, an incurable reader, a Presbyterian elder and a surprisingly soft touch for people who needed some help.

He wrote books, including Texas Under a Cloud, with Ben Proctor, about the Sharpstown stock scandal that rocked the Capitol and resulted in the biggest turnover in legislators in modern history, and Too Much is Not Enough, with Anne Marie Kilday, a book on campaign finance in Texas.

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Kinch was a University of Texas grad, with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism, a former editor of The Daily Texan. Survivors include his wife Lilas, three adult children and six grandchildren. Arrangements are pending.

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