Tim Grobaty is the most public person I know who hates being in public.

The columns he’s written over the past 47 years are funny—it’s what he’s known for—but also personal and revealing. It’s no wonder that when people see him or write to him, they feel like they’re talking to a friend. His style manages to be both heavy and light, and that quality allows people to see themselves in his life, both for better and for worse.

Yet when it comes to actually interacting with the public, he’s a royal pain in the rear. He is a petulant child whining in the backseat, and he doesn’t wanna go.

This even—or especially—applies to going away parties, even—or especially—for those he likes. Beyond my frustration with him for his lack of ability to budge on this matter, I see now that it’s because he’s deeply sentimental. He cares about people, and he hates saying goodbye.

Thankfully for us, he’s saying goodbye, but not quite saying goodbye. Just his style.

He announced his semi-retirement this week, but he’ll still be writing a weekly column, Long Beach with Tim Grobaty that comes out Wednesdays. (And if I know Tim Grobaty, there probably will be more than just that.)

Long Beach Post columnist and all-around great guy Tim Grobaty reading his own book in a quiet corner of the news office in Long Beach. Photo by Thomas Cordova.

This doesn’t, however, get him out of a celebration in his honor. We are going to celebrate Tim whether he wants to or not, even if I have to pump him full of Xanax and pile him in a wheelbarrow to get him there.

There’s way too much to be said about Tim Grobaty. And way too many people who need to say it.

We’ll coordinate with our friends who’ve worked with Tim at the Press-Telegram, where Tim wrote columns for 42 years (he’s been at the Post for five). I’m really hoping that Rich Archbold (former executive editor of the P-T, now a columnist) will talk about the time Tim lit the carpet on fire.

Tim is going to be miserable, and it’s going to be great. They’ll be applauding, gin martini-drinking, loud chip-eating (one of his pet peeves), maybe some singing, crying, and many long, long speeches.

You’re going to want to see him squirm.

Look for details around the first of the year; we’re shooting for a celebration in early 2024. Tickets will be available to our members first, as well as the public at large (if you’re not already, become a member here).

I don’t know of a person who’s had as big of a quiet impact on a city. Tim is a great thinker—and great thinkers are great writers.

That kind of talent, and impact, needs to be properly marked.

Melissa Evans is the Chief Executive Officer of the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal. Reach her at [email protected], @melissaevansLBP or 562-512-6354.