09 April 2009
BERKELEY — Diane Ainsworth, a former Berkeleyan staff writer, died March 29 at her home in Altadena, Calif., of an apparent heart attack or aneurysm, according to her father, Donald Ainsworth. She was 56.
At her death, Ainsworth, who held both a B.A. and an M.A. in cultural anthropology, was a science writer at USC's Viterbi School of Engineering in Los Angeles, where she had worked since 2003. Prior to that she spent three years on the staff of the Berkeleyan, writing primarily about science (with astronomy a special interest), but also about a full range of campus topics, from the founding of the Bancroft Library's Center for the Tebtunis Papyri to a profile of Faculty Club bartender Paul Parish.
Ainsworth's previous jobs included 12 years as a media-relations specialist at the Caltech Jet Propulsion laboratory in Pasadena, covering such landmark events as NASA Mars missions and the launch of earth-observation satellites, and arranging media access to shuttle missions. She began her career in higher-education media working as a senior staff writer in the UCLA public-affairs office. Before coming to academia she was a reporter for various media, including the Associated Press, and had worked as a public-information officer at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica.
In addition to her father, she is survived by her mother, Virginia, of La Crescenta, and her brothers, Stephen John Ainsworth of Sunol and Donald Ainsworth III of Ventura. No memorial is planned by the family, who request that any memorial donations go to the American Heart Association.