VICTORIA â€” Black Press co-owner Annabeth Black, wife of company founder David Black and one of the driving forces behind the newspaper chainâ€™s success, died of pancreatic cancer overnight Tuesday. She was 60.
â€œAnnabeth was good to all of us both professionally and personally. She was full of energy, good wishes,â€ says Jim Tighe, president of Black Press Vancouver Island. â€œShe put herself behind the company on all levels. I have a great image of her planting flowers outside our building, her arms deep in the dirt.
â€œShe will be missed.â€
An avid gardener, Annabeth helped David run the company.
â€œThere was hardly a decision that got made without her input,â€ says computer systems manager Al McGee, who has worked closely with David Black since 1979.
Even after the cancer diagnosis in 2005, Annabeth continued monitoring editorial content.
David and Annabeth married in 1970 and raised four children, twin sons Alan and Fraser, 34, and daughters Morgan, 32, and Catherine, 30. Comox Valley Record sports editor Earle Couper recalled babysitting the children in the mid-1970s. Couper was writing for the Williams Lake Tribune at the time and the Blacks had recently moved to town to take over from Davidâ€™s father, Alan.
â€œShe was a dynamic lady with a warm smile and always had a twinkle in her eye. The Blacks hosted summer staff parties … where the likes of (Tribune writer) Jerry MacDonald and other fun-seekers passed many an enjoyable hour.â€
Annabeth never forgot the early days, Couper said.
â€œI was pleasantly surprised a few years ago to receive a phone call from Victoria from Annabeth. She just phoned to say she had enjoyed reading the Record sports section.â€
David Black once told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, purchased in 2000, that he was â€œvery, very luckyâ€ to find Annabeth.
â€œShe brings quiet to my life, focuses me less on business and more on my family,â€ Black said.