Rick Sorben – Co-Creator of the OB Seagull Logo – Has Passed

by on December 18, 2009 · 13 comments

in Environment, Ocean Beach

OB Seagull logo

Rick SorbenIf you have spent one day in OB, you know about the OB Seagull – a decal logo plastered on just about every car in town. And then some.  The creator of the logo – another Ocean Beach artist – has passed away. Donald “Rick” Sorben died on December 2nd, after a brief illness. He and his brother were creators of the OB Seagull Logo, a community icon.

Born in 1944, Rick was a native San Diegan, born and raised in Ocean Beach. He attended Point Loma High and graduated from SDSU. He also was a USMC reservist, 4th Tank Battallion. Rick was an environmental geologist, registered in California and Arizona, and worked for many local companies before starting his own consulting firm.

Rick was a man of many talents; photographer, artist, and inventor. He and his brother Bob created the “OB Seagull Logo” in 1973. Since then, thousands of OB vehicles have had the decal pasted on their windshields and the logo became a symbol of OB itself.

Mr. Sorben handcrafted unusual sculptures such as “Parker” the upright guard dog, and “The Walker” a small scale man “of the ages.”

He also patented a roller fence guard system, now Roll Guard Inc. His invention has saved many pets, and made a lot of people very happy and secure.

Rick was loved by all those who knew him. He was intelligent, knowledgeable, generous and had a keen sense of humor. He will be greatly missed.

Rick leaves behind Jackie, his beloved wife of 30 years, for whom he wrote:

“I was the breeze, I was the air, Pushing and pulling on gentle things, barely there. You were the butterfly, fluttering to overcome, Sharing your magnificence with just this one. The tugs and pulls of our embrace are short, cryptic, and sublime, but they are mine – forever mine!”

Survivors also include brothers Robert Sorben and wife Sue of Ocean Beach, Harold Sweet of Utah, and in-laws Frances, Cornel, Elaine and Colton Tanassy of Thousand Oaks. There will be no services. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date for family and friends. The family suggests contributions to San Diego Hospice.

Please visit the Obituary for DONALD RODERICK SORBEN “RICK

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Pat December 18, 2009 at 10:54 am

Our condolences to Bob and the rest of Ricks family.
I know how it is to lose a brother at such a young age.
May you find peace in the days ahead.
Pat James and the Gang.


Shawn Conrad December 18, 2009 at 10:57 am

May his logo live on forever. I wish his family and friends well in this time of trouble.


Amber Forest December 18, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Condolences to Rick’s family. May they find some solace in knowing that what one does for oneself dies with one’s self; what one does for another, lives on. This logo is such a deed. Many transplants out of Ocean Beach bring this sticker with them to their new abode, bringing with them the comforting memory of one of the world’s most extraordinary beach communities. Thank you Rick.


Dave Gilbert December 18, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Best sincere wishes to Rick’s family and loved ones. How lucky he was to leave behind something that will probably live on forever.


claudia j December 18, 2009 at 6:33 pm

To: The Sorben Family…..WOW the memories of Rick are to long to list… from my Heart I reach out and say Rick was a Hero in his own way….I can remember the memories from high school, the beach, the OB LongHorn Days & all the fun at the local parties, Sunset Cliffs & etc…. I remember when the 1st sticker came out under Nordic Arts on Midway Drive, then Rick & Bobby grew & grew and the sticker became famous…. & then their was Peninsula Arts in Tunaville….Memories are forever…..xoxo claudia


BillRayDrums December 19, 2009 at 3:00 am

Mucho condolences. Sorry for your loss.


Annie Kolls January 2, 2010 at 10:25 pm

I never knew Rick, but I heard of him years ago, and have always loved the logo, and OB. It was the first place I lived when I came to California. My kids were born there, and I still feel like OB is my “real” neighborhood. Mr. Sobel has left many friends and a fine legacy. My heart goes out to his family.


Frank Gormlie January 3, 2010 at 9:59 am

Thanks for visiting us, Annie. Where do you live now?


Robert "Bob" Sorben April 28, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Thanks Claudia J. & Pat James, and to the OB friends who responded to my brother’s passing. Being born & raised in OB/PL we were close, had a multitude of mutual friends and shared a lot of memories growing up in our “notorious” town. We developed the OB Seagull Logo for the people, to show their community pride, and, to represent the “freedom” that OB has always been known for. “Our” OB Logo has been seen around the world. I have been producing the OB Seagull Decal for 25 years at my shop, Peninsula Graphics, in Point Loma Village – it is amazing that it has lasted for 39 years. It is © for 95 years, and will continue to be produced, by me and my wife Sue, as long as it continues to be accepted. Thanks for the support – Bob Sorben


Frank Gormlie April 28, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Thanks, Bob, for visiting us. You guys have an amazing story, and perhaps we should blog about it.


L. Lake January 28, 2012 at 5:05 am

Rick was a great guy. We go all the way back to Loma Portal, Dana, and Point Loma.


Bob Sorben February 6, 2013 at 9:24 am

Larry: Where are you? In SD/OB/PL. . . let em know. You’ve missed about 40 OB Longhorn Reunion Parties.
Bob Sorben


Michael Tatro July 28, 2021 at 2:19 pm

I lived on the corner of Muir and Abbott for 3 years in the late 80s best time i ever had I’ll always remember the day the South coat surf shop gave me a 50% discount they told me i was a local.


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: