Here is his story in a nutshell.
The Coney family — Bruce, Gail, their nine-year-old daughter Janine and dog, Fluffy — left Cape Town, South Africa to move to Canada in 1982.
Bruce had worked for the District Mail newspaper in Somerset West, a town near Cape Town. Later he became part owner of the Hottentots Holland Advertiser, in the same town. He said “moving to Canada was one of the best things I ever did; it is so peaceful here; I have never regretted it.”
Once in Vancouver he was offered a job selling advertising for the Ubyssey newspaper at the height of B.C.’s first recession in February 1982. Shortly after he left, he was offered a sales representative job at the West Ender. That paper was sold to Eric Cardwell (who had been with the North Shore News) and Bruce was promoted to advertising sales manager. In 1989 the West Ender and its new sister paper, the East Ender, were sold to Liverpool Post and Echo. Not liking the new direction the paper was being steered to, he left.
Bruce had launched the monthly Deep Cove Crier in 1987. It was originally conceived as a fundraiser for the Seycove Band, which his daughter was a member of. His idea was for the band members to sell flyers and if it worked he would start a monthly paper in March. Wilf Fawcett of Fawcett Insurance was on board immediately and has continued through Jeff to be a loyal advertiser since the first paper came out. The fundraiser was an enormous success.
In 1990 Bruce launched the weekly West End Times, which ran for nearly a decade before Peter Speck of the North Shore News approached Bruce and offered to buy it as well as the Deep Cove Crier. Bruce continued to work for them as publisher until this past December Deep Cove Crier was published.
Bruce and I talked about how much the newspaper business has changed. When he started in Cape Town they were still using hot type and litho letter printing. Technology changed rapidly and by the time I started working for Bruce in 1991, creating the ads, we had personal computers and fax machines, but no reliable Internet yet. He would fax ad layouts to Marion Taggart who lived in Windsor Park and to me in Deep Cove.
We would prepare the ads and print them onto single sheets of paper and Bruce would drive by our homes in the morning and rush them downtown where they were cut out and pasted up onto full page flats and rushed to the printer. They had one day to create the camera-ready flats. Thursdays were always a madhouse!
An active member of the community, Bruce was a founding member of the Deep Cove Tennis Club in 1997. That same year the Mount Seymour Lions presented him with a Certificate of Appreciation for his community service. He left Deep Cove and moved to Salt Spring Island in February 2002 and has been commuting monthly to work on the Crier ever since.
Bruce has always been grateful for all the people who worked for the Deep Cove Crier, including Pat Johnston, Shelley Harrison Rae, Julia Chalifoux (née Ronmark) and, of course, his daughter Janine. Oh, and he thanked me, too.
He is also very appreciative for all the advertisers and all the readers for their loyal support over the years. He thanks the great bunch of community people who regularly submitted stories, including Rev. Ed Hird, Mayor Richard Walton, MLA Jane Thornthwaite and Megan Crowe from the library. More thanks were given to all those people over the years who opened their houses to him over the past 10 years that he has been commuting, especially Janet, John, Val and Jack.
So while Bruce enjoys his life on Salt Spring, with his sailing, crabbing, travelling, working in the studio he established, cooking and his little dog, Coco, we will miss him.
Thank you, Bruce.