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Wayne Locksley Kines: Communicator. Charmer. Community builder. Father. Born June 10, 1935, in Roblin, Man.; died Aug. 14, 2022, in Gatineau from complications of old age; aged 87.

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Wayne KinesCourtesy of family

Before media was social, there was Wayne Locksley Kines. A connector of connectors, he lived in his own social-media universe. Within minutes of meeting him for the first time, he had probably extracted from you your hometown, your vocation, your religion and he’d quite possibly discovered you both knew someone in common. And if you didn’t have someone you knew in common, he was going to give you the name of someone you absolutely, positively had to meet.

He was a tireless, passionate recruiter. He would hear about a project that needed help and would then be on the lookout for someone who would be a good fit. He acquired the nickname Uncle Ding-A-Ling, racking up thousands of dollars in long-distance bills a month, reaching out to his vast global network. Throughout his life, he was on a quest to make the world a better place by connecting people and ideas. And it consumed him.

He was born in Roblin, Man., the youngest of four sons. Following a stint teaching English to train crews at Frontier College, he enrolled at Carleton University. A socially active student, he didn’t graduate but did land a job as a reporter at the Calgary Herald. Next, he became a communications officer at CBC Winnipeg, working with up-and-coming broadcaster Lloyd Robertson.

In 1960, his passion for recruiting extended to a vivacious young British secretary at the CBC, where they both were working. He and Valerie Simpson were soon married and the first of four children (David, Peter, Andrew and Stephen) followed nine months later.

Wayne was recruited to the United Nations in 1969, and thus began a series of postings to New York, Geneva and Nairobi – all with a growing family in tow. While not around much during the week, on weekends, Wayne brought home a projector and NFB films on loan from the local Canadian embassy. Local entertainment options were limited, and this also kept the family rooted to Canada.

His first marriage ended when he met Jane Stuart, a journalist, nurse, midwife and educator as his post ended in Kenya. Upon his return to Canada, they pursued one of his lifelong passions: the democratization of media. In the late 1970s, Jane and Wayne founded a co-operative for a cable licence in Brandon and surrounding Manitoban communities. His four sons – and Jane’s two children, Robin and Helena – at times regret being the scions of the only cable company founders who didn’t end up extraordinarily well off. But the legacy of community-building, ownership and control at Westman Media lasts to this day.

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Mr. Kines, in his office in Nairobi, Kenya in 1974, was recruited to the United Nations in 1969 and worked in a series of postings in New York, Geneva and Nairobi.Courtesy of family

Wayne also served as a multimedia strategist for the UN Centre for Economic & Social Information in New York and Geneva; worked for the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm; and for the UN Environment Programme. Along the way, he co-founded the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, the Canadian Committee on World Press Freedom and collaborated with UNESCO to promote World Heritage Sites abroad.

Wayne was curious, joyous, mischievous – a lover of using ALL CAPS in e-mails. He had a razor-sharp memory of names, places and ideas but his mind was also always wandering. If his interest in the conversation flagged, he had a prodigious ability to fall asleep. A man of faith, he sought daily guidance from his Creator. Some might say he was selectively principled, but to be human is to be flawed.

He was a charmer, and, following the death of Jane at the hands of a drunk driver in 2003, he became an eligible widower at the age of 68. So, he courted a nurse and fellow civil society activist Deva-Marie Beck. They married in 2006 and carried on loving life, spending time with friends and family, making many more global connections.

He left his Manitoba hometown determined to make a difference. He wanted to make the world a little bit better. We believe he did.

David Kines is Wayne’s eldest son. Deva-Marie Beck is Wayne’s wife.

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