John Ashbridge is being remembered for his countless contributions to the community and the broadcasting industry.
Ashbridge, 71, died June 5, just a few months after being diagnosed with cancer. A legendary broadcaster, Ashbridge worked in radio in Victoria and Australia and was a news director at CJCI Prince George, but is best known for his career at CKNW and the Western Information Network, where he was the director of a bureau that distributed news to radio stations across the province, including CKNW.
“He was a mentor to everyone. If you canvass the radio industry or even broadcasting these days, everyone will say, ‘I worked with John,’” Puri said. “People who are still in the industry learned from John. He was a fabulous writer – never mind his presentation skills. He understood the importance of getting the story right, but was also very eager – get it out there as quickly as you can.”
Puri, who considered Ashbridge a mentor and a dear friend, said he’ll be remembered for his generosity, lack of ego and desire to help organizations and causes he supported. While he was never one who thrived on praise, social media was flooded with tributes to Ashbridge as news of his death spread.
Ashbridge, who retired from CKNW in 2005 after a 40-year broadcasting career, was also well known as being the voice of the Vancouver Canucks and Vancouver Giants, having been the PA announcer at their games for many years. He also lent his distinctive voice and quick wit to Crime Stoppers ads, for which he was named Crime Stoppers International's 2010 Civilian of the Year – the highest civilian award it bestows.
Ashbridge and wife Yvonne Eamor moved from the Tri-Cities to New Westminster in 2004, with Ashbridge quickly immersing himself in city life and lending his time and voice to numerous events around town, including charity hockey games, Canada Day celebrations and the Seniors Festival. He also served on the City of New Westminster’s emergency advisory committee and recorded messages about the city's emergency planning efforts and safety reminders, such as back-to-school, high water and fire prevention tips for the city-owned and operated radio station, 88.7 FM.
“Very saddened to hear about the passing of John. I grew up knowing him as the voice of the Canucks, but that evolved into knowing his as the man who was dedicated to giving back to his community,” said Mayor Jonathan Cote. “He was generous with his time and on countless occasions shared his iconic voice to support different organizations in New Westminster. He will be missed dearly in our city.”
Ashbridge also served on the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation’s board of directors for nine years.
“John will be greatly missed by all of us at Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation, where the sound of his legendary voice as he regularly walked into our offices indicated he was here to offer his support again. He started volunteering his time with the foundation’s board in 2006 and completed a full term in 2015, including a stint as vice chair,” said foundation CEO and president Jeff Norris. “He helped us thank donors, highlight the impact of their giving, and formed strong relationships with a number of our doctors, nurses and other health professionals.”
Norris said Ashbridge continued to be a “fantastic ambassador” for Royal Columbian Hospital even after his term on the board came to an end.
“He was very generous with his time and talents,” he said. “He always reminded us he lived close to the hospital and was willing to come by to help whenever we needed him. John was a donor to the foundation and a grateful patient, having been treated for a heart condition at Royal Columbian. The care he received led him to volunteer to visit other patients and offer them words of encouragement. He put his voice behind many projects at the foundation, but more importantly he fully put his heart into his work in support of Royal Columbian.”