Cindy Frazier, city editor of the Coastline Pilot, is pictured during a "Girls Night Out" class at the Sawdust Art Festival in 2011. She died after a battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 60. (DON LEACH, Coastline Pilot / June 28, 2012)

Cynthia "Cindy" Frazier, who served as city editor of the Coastline Pilot for nearly eight years, has died. She was 60.

Cindy had been battling pancreatic cancer for the last year. She succumbed to her illness Wednesday morning at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills.

After working at community newspapers in the Santa Monica area, Cindy joined the Coastline Pilot in January 2005 as city editor, quickly immersing herself in the community.

She placed a strong emphasis on City Hall and arts coverage, and also wrote quirky columns about everything from taking art classes to her small roles on the community theater stage. During her tenure, she led the newspaper staff to numerous California Newspaper Publishers Assn. awards.

"Cindy was fiercely loyal to Laguna Beach," said John Canalis, who supervised Cindy as editor of Times Community News South. "She championed her staff, freelancers and columnists, and took great pride in serving as a community editor. Our entire staff is grieving."

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An idyllic suburban childhood

Cindy was born in Westlake, Ohio, on June 15, 1952, according to her sister, Elizabeth "Libby" Root. She grew up in Westlake; Akron, Ohio; and Norwalk, Conn.

"She and our brother and I would play together happily a game of the imagination we called 'horses and men,'" Root recalled by email. "We always played this in our brother's room, scrunching up his chenille rug into a mountain range surrounded by Cindy's ranch with many horses and Lou's homestead, with many Army men with my family living in the mountains."

Their childhood was described as suburban and idyllic.

"She and I loved to play 'traveling Barbies,' wandering around the neighborhood, pretending the Barbie dolls were visiting in a faraway land," Root said.

Cindy graduated from Bennington College in Vermont in 1975 and later studied journalism at Cal State Northridge.

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Career in news

Prior to joining to Coastline Pilot, Cindy worked at the Argonaut, which covers communities on the Westside of Los Angeles, the Palisadian-Post in Pacific Palisades, and at the Brentwood Media Group.

"When Cindy arrived, she was a longtime journalist from Santa Monica and really a neophyte when it came to Orange County news, and especially Laguna Beach," said Tony Dodero, who hired her when he edited the community papers for The Times. "But her skills as a journalist were evident from the start as she quickly immersed herself in the town and its issues and produced some compelling and interesting stories."

Aside from journalism, Cindy also worked as an assistant to the librarian in Santa Monica in the early 1980s.

"Cindy loved to read and write," her brother, Lou Frazier, said in an email. "She was good in school, I thought. She leaves a collection of work that includes novels, short stories, poems, plays and screenplays."

Cindy loved the Beatles, particularly John Lennon, and other the music from the '60s. She was greatly influenced by the Civil Rights Movement, which shaped her worldview and inspired a passion that never subsided.

"Her intellectual curiosity brought many interesting ideas and people into our lives," her sister wrote. "Her interest in the women's movement inspired my mother and all of us.