Kinsley brothers' impact on York community 'immeasurable,' leaders say

The deaths of brothers Jon and Tim Kinsley are "an immeasurable loss" for the York community, local leaders said Wednesday.

Jon Kinsley, who was an executive with Kinsley Enterprises, and Tim Kinsley, president of Kinsley Properties, were on a heli-ski trip in a resort area called Revelstoke in British Columbia, Canada, when they were caught in an avalanche Monday afternoon. Both Kinsleys were killed.

Kevin Schreiber, president and CEO of the York County Economic Alliance, said the impact of Tim and Jon Kinsley on the York business community can be seen throughout the area. 

“I don’t think we’ll ever quite wrap our arms around the loss to the York community that this is,” Schreiber said. “In many ways, in the same footsteps of their father, they have left a lasting living legacy. You can’t turn a corner in the York community without there being some endeavor that they had their fingerprints on.” 

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Kinsley Construction was founded in 1963 by Robert A. Kinsley, the late father of Jon and Tim Kinsley, and it has grown to six divisions focusing on specific areas of the industry throughout Pennsylvania and the mid-Atlantic region. Robert Kinsley, Jon and Tim's brother, is the CEO of Kinsley Enterprises Inc.

Schreiber said the Kinsley family has created an enterprise that spans multiple states and has thousands of employees and a variety of companies.  

“There’s the business impact of these two incredible leaders,” Schreiber said, “but then there’s the community impact of two incredible individuals who cared a lot about York and were always among the York community’s greatest advocates. It’s an immeasurable loss, and obviously we’re all wrestling with it and processing it. Our hearts are with the Kinsley family right now and their thousands of employees who are processing it now.” 

Jon Kinsley, left, and brother Tim Kinsley

Remembering: Others from the community posted remembrances of the Kinsleys on Tuesday as word of their deaths spread.

"The Kinsley family has been (a) pillar in York County. Tim and Jon gave generously to many causes to better the community," former Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement. Wolf, of Mount Wolf, sent his deepest condolences to the family and said he is saddened by the loss of the brothers.

"Just heartbroken to learn that our dear friends and wonderful York business leaders Jon and Tim Kinsley, 59 and 57, were killed after being caught in an avalanche near Revelstoke, British Columbia," U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-Carroll Township, said in a Facebook post. "It is absolutely impossible to put words to this, but please join me in sending love, strength, and prayers to their families, colleagues, and friends as they celebrate their lives and mourn their deaths. RIP, gentlemen, you will be deeply missed."

'Tireless advocates': President Commissioner Julie Wheeler spoke of her personal connections with the family.

“The York community is forever better for the lives of these brothers. Just as their father before them, their family, and entire workforce, Jon and Tim were tireless advocates for our York community,” Wheeler said Wednesday. 

Wheeler attended Dallastown Area High School with members of the Kinsley family, including Tim, and said the Kinsleys are just an inherently good family. 

“They helped to build an enterprise that spans multiple states with several thousand employees. Just like their father, they spent their lives in support of York’s betterment, always giving of their time, and always caring for our community,” Wheeler said. “They’ve left a living legacy in the vast many projects, initiatives and lives they’ve impacted. Like many, I am heartbroken. My love and prayers are with their family, friends and all of the Kinsley employees during this very difficult time.” 

Community initiatives: Besides their leadership in business, the Kinsleys had an impact on a number of community initiatives in education, the arts and presenting opportunities to students to understand the trades and the industry, Schreiber said. 

The Kinsley Training and Development Center was created in 2000 with a mission to build workforce excellence and encourage career advancement by “teaching the standard” in the construction trades, and in 2017, York College created the Kinsley School of Engineering, Science and Technology after a $5.5 million gift commitment from the family.  

Schreiber said the Kinsleys were also involved in preserving open spaces for agricultural purposes as well as urban renewal in redeveloping downtown York City. 

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“They were incredible business leaders and great individuals and were part of a legacy family here. We’ll have a hard time measuring the impact they had,” Schreiber said. 

Circumstances: The investigation into the circumstances that led to the deaths of Tim and Jon Kinsley is still ongoing.  

“I can confirm that the BC Coroners Service was notified and is investigating these deaths,” said Ryan Panton, spokesperson with the British Columbia Coroners Services. “However, as our investigation remains open, I’m unable to provide any additional information at this time.” 

According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who are aiding in the investigation, authorities were advised that an avalanche had occurred around 2:30 p.m. Monday near the Akolkolex tenure southeast of Revelstoke near an area known as Chocolate Bunnies. The Kinsleys were fully buried by the avalanche, while their guide was partially buried. 

“Immediate action was taken on scene by all involved to locate the victims, provide first aid and transport by helicopter to hospital. Ultimately, the efforts to save the lives of the two skiers were unsuccessful,” said Revelstoke RCMP Detachment Cmdr. Sgt. Chris Dodds in a statement. “The third skier involved remains at hospital in serious condition.” 

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Beacons carried by the three were used to locate them, and they were dug out of the snow, according to the RCMP. The Kinsleys were flown to Kelowna airport in British Columbia and then transported to Kelowna General Hospital but died from their injuries, officials said. 

The deaths are Canada’s second and third avalanche-related fatalities in a three-day period and the fourth and fifth in this season, according to reports. Weakness in the snowpack, experts said, is similar to that of 2003, which is one of the deadliest avalanche seasons on record.