Former Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News publisher and long-time volunteer Roy Lind passed away Friday at a hospice in Mission.
Lind had prostate cancer, as well as heart complications.
He was 73.
Lind was born Sept. 19, 1943. He graduated from Abbotsford High School in 1963 and shortly after set off on a trip around the world. Traveling remained a passion of his into retirement.
Lind begin his 32-year career in newspapers in 1967, first in circulation for a Vancouver daily, then in advertising sales at the Abbotsford News.
Notable changes at The Progress during Lind’s time as publisher included the purchase, development and move to the current Spadina Avenue property in 1974, and the conversion from hot metal to computerized typesetting.
Lind also shepherded the change from typewriters to computers in both the editorial and classified advertising departments.
In 1985, he became publisher of three publications – the Maple Ridge News, Coquitlam News and Sunday News, the latter of which also stretched into Burnaby.
Those publications had just been bought by Trinity International, a U.K.-based newspaper publishing company headquartered in Liverpool.
Lind, at the time, worked alongside Rick O’Connor, now president and chief executive officer of Black Press, which bought the community papers in 1997.
O’Connor said Lind oversaw “rapid” growth in community newspapers during the 1980s.
Many of the staff he hired at the time remain with the company today.
“He was a very kind person to staff,” O’Connor said.
Whether a problem was professional or personal, he added, Lind was willing to listen.
“He made a lasting, positive impression.”
Lind was also very involved with community groups in Maple Ridge. He was a member of Rotary and served as chairman of the Golden Ears Care Society, Valley Haven Rest Home, and Meadowridge School.
When the Golden Ears Care Home was sold, Lind created a society that is still active today, using investment income to support a number of local seniors charities.
Lind was also a board member of Advertising Standards Canada and the Kinsmen Foundation of B.C. As well, he was a Freemason and Shriner, and a member of the Abbotsford Curling Club and Swan-e-Set Golf Club.
Fred Armstrong, now director of communications for the City of Maple Ridge, worked with Lind at the News.
“He was, at his heart, a salesman, and that salesmanship also involved recruiting an impressive stable of people in all of the departments and across all the publications,” said Armstrong, who started at the News in 1988 as a graphic artist.
“Roy was old school. His career spanned the era of ‘linotype’ hot metal to the digital age. He took a risk on introducing the Mac computers into the workflow for community papers and ‘the News Group’ was among the first community newspapers to convert to digital publishing. He always encouraged his staff to think big and take risks. When something went well, he would give credit to the people who did the deed, and when someone took a risk and it didn’t work, he was there to act as a barrier to any criticism and to help the staff member find the teachable moments. This was a key to the success of the team from 1988 through to 1992.”
Under Lind’s leadership, the newspapers won a large number of awards from the B.C., Canada and international newspaper organizations in journalism, photography, marketing and advertising.
He was active in the Provincial Newspaper Association and was relentless in promoting community newspapers for government and national advertising, Armstrong added.
In 1988, Lind, as vice-president of sales and marketing, also created the Metro Valley Newspaper Group, a national sales arm of Trinity.
Black Press bought the community papers from Trinity in 1997 and Lind retained his title until his retirement in 1999.
“Dad loved being in newspapers and being so connected to a community,” said his son, Sean Lind.
“He would have liked nothing more than to spend his days pounding the streets, talking up business and up-selling to full colour. I can’t imagine dad doing anything else in life other than newspapers. He loved being part of a team and trying to make a place better.”
He was most proud of his work in the community and continued it in retirement, including that with the Golden Ears Society, a group he helped start to support seniors in need.
He recruited Armstrong to be part of that group’s board of directors.
“He was an incredible mentor for so many of us. For me, personally, he connected me to Maple Ridge,” Armstrong said.
“His volunteerism rubbed off on me.”
Lind later moved to Abbotsford and lived there for 10 years, then recently relocated to Mission.
He was at the Christine Morrison Hospice in Mission for three weeks.
Armstrong said Lind loved travel and fine-dining.
“Above all, he loved his wife Diane and his son Sean, who he spoke about whenever we got together.”
Armstrong visited Lind at the hospice in Mission.
“In the last weeks of his life, he corresponded with one of the former directors of Trinity International who he befriended in his visits to the U.K. That speaks to his ‘superpower,’” Armstrong said.
“He was such a genuine and likable guy. He was loyal to his team and consistently surrounded himself with bright and intelligent people.”
A celebration of Lind’s life is planned for Thursday, June 30, from 2-5 p.m. at the Best Western Regency Inn, 32110 Marshall Road in Abbotsford.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to Christine Morrison Hospice or another seniors-focused organization.