A long-time employee of Black Press in Abbotsford who was actively involved in the community died Sunday at the age of 64.
Jim Ainsley, who retired in February after 39 years with the newspaper company, passed away in Vancouver General Hospital due to complications from surgery for lung cancer.
At the time of his retirement, he was vice-president of finance and operations for the Black Press Group and was based in the Abbotsford News building on Gladys Avenue.
Ainsley was born on Jan. 18, 1947 in Prince Albert, Sask., where he was involved as an army cadet through his teens. After graduation, he studied to become an accountant but never wrote his final exams.
He and his family moved to Lethbridge, Alta. when he was in his early 20s, and he worked as an accountant for Boise Cascade – which distributes office products and building supplies – before being hired by the Red Deer Advocate newspaper in 1972 as the head accountant.
Ainsley moved to Abbotsford in the early 1980s and began working for Hacker Press – a predecessor to Black Press. Later that decade, he became more involved in the human resources side, including union negotiations, labour issues and capital projects.
“Jim was known as gruff with a big heart, but at the end of the day he was a very level-headed guy who could bring parties together and find common ground,” said Bruce Tennant, Ainsley’s co-worker and friend.
Ainsley’s community involvement included the Rotary Club of Abbotsford; the Fraser Valley Health Foundation’s Run for Mom committee; the Abbotsford Community Services’ Christmas Bureau, which he helped establish; the United Way; and the Abbotsford International Airshow.
Ainsley and his wife Catherine moved to Chilliwack at the end of 1990, and he enjoyed gardening and woodworking.
He is survived by Catherine; his four sons Martin, Darren, Kevin and Keith and their spouses; four grandchildren; and his two beloved poodles, Rosie and Jewel.
A celebration life will take place sometime next week, but a date has not yet been set.