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50 Overlea Blvd.
Toronto, ON M4H 1B6
Phone: 416-423-1000
Fax: 416-424-2074
Donald Daber

Donald Daber

Wednesday, May 1st, 1929 - Thursday, April 4th, 2019
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Don Daber was born in Kirkland Lake, ONT, on May 2, 1929. In 1949 he moved to Toronto to study at the Ontario College of Art (now the Ontario College of Art and Design). After graduating, he began a career in graphics and photography.
He moved to Ottawa, ONT, for his first full-time job at Crawley Films where he worked as a graphic artist. In 1956, Don and a partner started their own company called Advertising Art Associates. One of their clients was The Boy Scouts Association of Canada.
Don’s connection with the greater drum corps community began in July 1960 when he joined two members of the Optimists executive, Al Baggs and Clare Reid, at a meeting of what was then called the Canadian Trumpet Band Association. As a result of this meeting, he was given a contract to do the artwork and program book for the upcoming championship contest.
During his years with the Optimists (Toronto Optimists and Seneca Optimists), Don was a photographer, the publicity director and the corps director (more than once). He was also the creator and editor of GCC, Green Capsule Comments with the Toronto Optimists and Gold Capsule Comments with the Seneca Optimists.
Don’s cartoons were frequently included in editions of GCC and many were featured in the tabloid newspaper Drum Corps World between 1971 and 2000, all of which can be found in the pages of Steve Vickers’ book, “The Art of Drum Corps World.”
In addition to his work with the Optimists, he found time to work with both the Ontario and Canadian Drum Corps Associations, serving as a photographer, publicity director and board member. In his spare time he wrote articles for various drum corps publications, produced the artwork for a number of record albums (almost three dozen for the Revere, MA-based Fleetwood label) as well as designing posters and doing the program artwork for a variety of contests.
Don was highly regarded both in Canada and the United States. His dedication and contributions to youth, primarily in the Drum Corps World will be missed by all who knew him.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Wednesday, April 10th, 2019 | 11:00am
    Wednesday, April 10th, 2019 11:00am
    Heritage Funeral Centre
    50 Overlea Blvd
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Duffin Meadows Cemetery
    2505 Brock Road
    Pickering L1X 2P8

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Private Condolence

Douglas MacKenzie

Posted at 06:26pm
It is indeed sad that Don has moved on from this world. I first met Don my first full year with the Toronto Optimists in 1960. At that time I was in awe of his talent as a commercial artist and the many attributes he brought to the corps through his art, writing and ideas. My tenure playing in the corps lasted for 8 years and throughout that time Don came up with many inventive ideas that made belonging to the Optimists a special thing – not only the championships we won but the banquets, five year rings, twenty one club GCC and the store on Keele Street to name a few that he was either instrumental in or partnered with others in bringing to fruition. For many of us the history of our teenage years were captured by Don on film, if it had not been for that there likely would be no record of our participation or achievements. In 1974 when I became the corps director Don was there with many suggestions and ideas that made the 1975 season most enjoyable for me and hopefully for the membership as well. Don always and only cared about the “kids”. What about the kids? What about the kids? That was Don’s rally cry, he really did care. It was always fun to be with Don – I never heard him speak ill of anyone or talk down to anyone. It was always fun to be with him after a rehearsal and a few libations when you knew Don would start up his Chinese Food, Chinese Food mantra. We would all wind up a Sai Woo’s for you guessed it – Chinese Food. Don was kind and generous. In his later years he suffered a form of dementia that would rob not only him but his many friends of meaningful social contact. Even though he had to go through this state to where we are today, many of us continue to benefit through his meaningful work in the drum corps world and through his many photographs that are now posted on the Optimist Alumni web site. Don may have left us but his legacy lives on through the media that he loved. RIP

Richard Bruton

Posted at 11:33pm
To my fellow Toronto Optimists,
We were so priviledged to not only known Don, but to have befriended him. Don was a great mentor and although he never marched with the corps he was truly a Toronto Optimist. I never heard him say an unkind word and he was for the kids in the corps. He never lost sight that this was an activity that kept so many of us off the streets and out of trouble (generally). I wish that I were able to join y'all, but Biloxi, Mississippi isn't on any TTC route, so I will just say that I am thinking about y'all and mostly about Don. March On!

Richard M Bruton
Toronto Optimists, 1975

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