John Steinbock, 73, the Roman Catholic bishop of Fresno, Calif., who presided over a period of huge growth in his diocese and was known as a strong administrator, a down-to-earth cleric, and a passionate golfer, died Sunday of lung cancer.

A former parish priest in Los Angeles, Bishop Steinbock had led the Diocese of Fresno since 1991 and was credited with turning around its finances and welcoming the immigrants who accounted for an increasingly large proportion of its flock.

Under his leadership, the diocese, encompassing most of the San Joaquin Valley, grew from 350,000 worshipers to more than one million, according to diocesan officials.

Born in Los Angeles on July 16, 1937, Bishop Steinbock was the youngest of three boys, all of whom became priests. - Los Angeles Times