A few weeks ago, Mark Mayerson posted some sad news about the passing of longtime Ottawa animator Grant Campbell. Grant passed away on September 4, at the Mission Hospice in Ottawa.
I worked with Grant at Dynomight Cartoons in the 90’s. I didn’t know him well, but he was a warm and friendly presence at the studio. “Hey Mike!” “How’s it going Mike?” I’d get the same cheerful greeting out of him a couple times a day as I’d enter and exit the shop. He was always out by the door, grabbing a quick smoke. Those couple of lines never felt like a token. They didn’t always result in an in-depth conversation, but you got the impression he was happy to see you. Grant felt genuine.
Grant was good people. He was never a superstar, but he was solid, a really sweet guy who was very good at the job. He came out of Sheridan in 1981, a time when this industry wasn’t exactly booming. He put in some time in Toronto, worked on Care Bears and other shows, and ended up in Ottawa. By the time I came along, Grant was already part of the “old guard”. Not a lot of actual animating happened here in Canada at that time. We were all pre-production shops, for the most part. Guys like Grant seemed to possess an arcane knowledge, actual animating was a skill few of us possessed. A lot of the 0lder guys seemed to begrudge the loss of it. There was a bit of a ghost in the room a lot of the time, like what we were doing wasn’t real animation. But Grant just seemed to roll with it. It wasn’t who he was, it was something he did. And he just always seemed to be happy to have a job, be doing the work, and enjoying the company that came from working in a studio. He just seemed to be completely present. One of those people who live completely in the moment.
The last time I saw Grant was a couple of years after I left Dynomight. I was struggling a bit to find my place in the industry, and was going through a tough time in my personal life. It was a sunny spring day, and I found myself walking past Dynomight’s new location in downtown Ottawa. I was feeling a bit anxious, being that close to the place, and doing my best to not go out of my way to avoid it. As I passed, the wiry figure of Grant Campbell looked over at me and gave me that exact same smile, partnered with the traditional “Hey Mike! How’s it going Mike?” that naturally followed. We chatted briefly while he finished his smoke. To this day, I’m still not sure if he even noticed that I no longer worked there. But it was great. I went on my way with a smile on my face. It wasn’t much, but it made my day.
Grant’s sister, Kathleen forwarded me the link to his obituary ( http://yourlifemoments.ca/sitepages/obituary.asp?oId=742934 ) and informed that they’re having a final service for him on Saturday in Melbourne, Ontario.
Kathleen doesn’t seem to have had a lot of contact with Grant’s animation life, so if anyone wants to share any memories of him in our comments section, you’re greatly encouraged. He also didn’t like having his picture taken, so if you’ve got some to share, I’ll make sure she gets them. email@example.com
Grant Eugene Campbell
CAMPBELL, Grant Eugene – February 27, 1956 – September 4, 2013 Passed away peacefully, at The Mission Hospice in Ottawa, on September 4, 2013. Beloved brother of Gary (Carolyn) and Kathy (Shafique). Much loved uncle of Heather (Hugh) and Maggie (Alan), and great-uncle of Calleigh, Malcolm, Nicholas, and Gregory. Cherished son of the late William (Bill) and Dorothy (née Grant) Campbell of Melbourne, ON. Grant was born near Melbourne and attended Caradoc South Public School, then Strathroy District Collegiate Institute. He graduated from the Classical Animation Program of Sheridan College in 1981. An exceptionally talented Animator and Storyboard Artist, he worked in the animation industry in Ottawa for several decades. Grant was Animator Artist for The Care Bears, Storyboard Artist for Harry and His Bucketful of Dinosaurs, and worked on many feature films, television shows, and video games. He was a Private Pilot, passionate about flying, and a member of The Rockcliffe Flying Club in Ottawa, where a tree will be planted in loving memory of him. More recently, he enjoyed work as a part-time school bus driver until April 2013. He will be sadly missed by dear friend Monicque, and fondly remembered by all who knew him. Memorial service was held in Ottawa on Friday, September 6, 2013 at Kelly Funeral Home – Somerset Chapel. Inurnment service, with Reverend Richard Golden officiating, will take place on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 1:00 pm, Campbell family plot, Longwood Cemetery, Melbourne. All are welcome to attend. In the event of inclement weather, service will re-locate to Melbourne United Church. All are invited to attend reception at the church immediately following service. For those who wish, and in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Mission Hospice, 35 Waller Street, Ottawa, ON, K1N 7G4, or to Melbourne United Church, 592 John Street, Melbourne, ON, N0L 1T0, or to Canadian Cancer Society, www.cancer.ca, and would be appreciated deeply by his family.