Cynthia Ainsworth
Cynthia Ainsworth Longtime San Francisco resident, Cynthia Ainsworth, died at home on July 28 of complications from ovarian cancer. Born in 1936 in Moline, IL, Cynthia graduated from Michigan State University with a BA in economics. After completing the Harvard-Radcliffe Program in Business Administration and a short stint at Merrill Lynch in New York, Cynthia came to San Francisco in 1959 and joined the local investment office of Wood, Struthers and Winthrop, beginning her lifelong love affair with the stock market. In 1965 she was invited to join Eugene Heckathorn and Associates, a business "fix-it" entrepreneur in the East Bay. Under the mentorship of Heckathorn, Cynthia was thrust into the operational turmoil of several small businesses. She essentially became the COO of "Pie Pops," a small independent baker of unique snack offerings in San Jose; then the consultant-on-staff for a grain operation run by a religious order near Portland, OR. Her last professional role was for Vesper Society, a Lutheran support organization founded by Heckathorn, and the owner of Vesper Memorial Hospital In San Leandro. Cynthia served as administrator of that hospital until her retirement in 1984. After retiring Cynthia turned to her first love - the land and its bounty. Having declared as a child that she would one day be a farmer, she transformed those early yearnings by becoming an active volunteer at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. She delighted in the work and continued with it as long as her health permitted. She loved to travel, and whether it was hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, ballooning over France, or riding a camel in Egypt, she was an enthusiastic participant. Her ambitious plan to visit all 50 states fell short by only three. In 1970 Cynthia built a vacation house at Sea Ranch and over the years she welcomed many friends to that beautiful place. More recently, she divided her time between homes in San Francisco and Palm Springs. Cynthia is survived by her brother Gordon, his wife Katie, their two daughters, Jennifer and Sarah, and a grandniece Lauren, all of Moline; her long-time partner Carolee Houser; her godson Jacques Hymans; innumerable cousins; and a host of friends. Cynthia's calm presence and gentle nature will be missed by all who knew her. A memorial gathering for family and close friends is being planned. Those wishing to further remember Cynthia are urged to consider gifts to the San Francisco Botanical Garden, the Trust for Public Land, or San Francisco Beautiful.
Published by San Francisco Chronicle on Aug. 3, 2008.
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4 Entries
Still think of her often and remember our fun trips and sports competitions.
She was such a big part of my life and memories! Miss her!
Carol Beaman
July 28, 2019
After fifty years of a wonderful friendship, I shall greatly miss Cynthia. Among many memories:
Sharing sightseeing and cultural experiences in New England.
Sharing an apartment in San Francisco with Cynthia and Myrna.
Enjoying Cynthia's generous sharing of her retreat at Sea Ranch.
Having a great time at Cynthia and Carolee's festive and innovative parties,large and small.
Keeping in touch with friends through Cynthia's efforts and hospitality.
Counting on Cynthia,Carolee and Myrna to always support our family events with loyalty and friendship.
Appreciating Cynthia's support of San Francisco and of Stanford sports.
Now, missing Cynthia's enthusiasm,creativity, intelligence--and loving friendship.
Linda Rintala
August 16, 2008
My thoughts and prayers are with CarolLee and Gordon and family.I'm remembering our wonderful times together at St Katherines, Michillinda, and travels across the West. She is remembered for her great sportsmanship and happy laugh. I will always treasure my fond memories.Carol Cook Beaman
Carol Beaman
August 6, 2008
Our thoughts are very much with Carolee, Myrna & Jacques, and Cynthia's family.

Carolee, we have especially fond memories of our dinner at LuLu many years ago. We will miss Cynthia, her smile, warm and always fun presence, and enthusiasm. We are among the fortunate to have known Cynthia and to have a friendship that has been important to our family for so many years.


Roger and Dawn Rintala
Roger Rintala
August 5, 2008
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