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Tributes pour in for Tri-City News ad manager Don Layfield

Don Layfield died at his Maple Ridge home on Tuesday, at the age of 62.

Staff at the Tri-City News are mourning the loss of a former colleague and a community stalwart.

Don Layfield died at his home in Maple Ridge on Tuesday (March 21).

He was 62.

A sales manager for years, Layfield retired from the newspaper about eight years ago and was enjoying time with his family and friends, building furniture, fishing and hunting.

He and his wife, Brenda, had recently returned from a two-month trip to Mexico, said his sister, Sandra.

Born on Dec. 26, 1960, at the Royal Columbian Hospital, Layfield was the son of the late George and Helen Layfield.

He grew up in Coquitlam with three siblings — Sandra, Carol and Doug — and attended Glen Drive Elementary, Mary Hill Jr. High School and Port Coquitlam High School, graduating in 1978.

Layfield held a variety of jobs before landing as a sales rep at the Tri-City News: at the PNE, on a commercial fishing boat with his uncle and as a chef at the Carnoustie Golf Club.

Sandra Layfield said her brother’s two passions were to build things and to help people.

“He was the most helpful person that you could imagine,” she said.

“He was kind. He was a gentleman. Everybody loved him.”

At the News, he was best known for his stories, especially about his grandkids, and his golden retrievers, which were cast in the movie series Air Bud.

“I remember him telling stories about his younger days working on the fishing boats along the coast and all his adventures and misadventures at sea. He relayed his stories with wide eyes and a wry smile,” said Mike Kingston, a graphic artist at the News.

Rick Halas, who is also in the production department, recalled Layfield’s retirement party.

“He brought his own full-size BBQ to the office. He set it up outside the building on the grass, then he proceeded to cook and serve the entire staff of 20 or more people a lovely steak lunch — paid-for by himself.”

And sales rep Marianne LaRochelle said Layfield was more than a boss: He was a mentor, cheerleader and friend.

“Don loved to cook and entertain. Each Christmas he cooked a legendary dinner for the sales staff. I can still see us sitting around his dining table laughing and celebrating life.”

Still, Layfield also made a difference outside of the office.

Craig Hodge, a longtime News photographer, said Layfield believed that the local newspaper shouldn’t just report on people and events; it also had to be a part of the community.

“He was very supportive of our non-profit organizations, always willing to sponsor their events and support them with free advertising,” said Hodge, who is now a Coquitlam city councillor.

“He donated his time to serve on their boards and help organize their events and festivals. Many of today’s signature events and non-profit organizations owe a deep gratitude to Don who was there when they were just getting established.”

Layfield also leaves behind a step-son, Lea, and grandsons, Colton, Hunter and Weston.

A date for a memorial has yet to be confirmed.