Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sad day in typography

While I never had him as an instructor during my time in college, we all knew of the legend that Jerry Campbell was. He, along with his friends Dick Isbell & Arthur Spaniola taught the majority of the lettering classes at CCS. These guys could hand letter fonts on a blackboard better than most of us could with layout paper. They could do calligraphy with a brush, pen, marker and probably a broom if given the chance. They designed more car logos for the Big Three here in Detroit than most and had numerous typefaces to their credit.

Jerry Campbell passed a few days ago and we lost a giant in the typographical world.

Here's the obituary from The Detroit News today:

"POPS" A long-time Detroit typographer and calligrapher Gerald B. Campbell, 86, has died in Henderson, Nevada, a week after suffering a stroke. Born in Lansdowne, New Brunswick, Canada, on September 23rd, 1922, he graduated from Royal Oak High School in 1940. During World War II he served with the Second Armored Division and saw combat in N. Africa, Sicily, Normandy, and at the Battle of the Bulge. He became the president of the Graphic Artists Guild in 1968, and taught typography and calligraphy at the Center for Creative Studies for 17 years. His company, Campbell/Isbell Alphabets, designed dozens of typefaces and hundreds of logos and special typography for the automotive industry. He is survived by his brother Earl "Curly" (Jean); daughters Carole (Steve) and Mary; sons Colin, Scott, Matt (Nancy) and Gerry; five grandchildren and four great grandchildren. A life celebration will be held at the VFW Hall in Royal Oak, 214 E. 4TH Street on Saturday, October 11th, from 12-5p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Veterans of Foreign Wars or the Alzheimer's Association in memory of his late wife of 44 years, Martha (nee: Bieke).

In a world where typography at times is taken for granted, here was a man who created it, treasured it and taught it to us as an art form. He will be missed dearly by those of us in the CCS community to which he is listed as a 1948 graduate.

1 comment:

colin said...

Hi Dave,

Somebody pointed me to your remarks about my father, Jerry Campbell. I'd like to add your paragraph to my page about him,

Colin Campbell