Published on Friday, January 20th, 2012 on the Applied Arts Wire blog.
This is how I remember Theo Dimson, an elegant and accomplished designer, known especially for his posters. I was waiting for him for lunch at a suburban Toronto restaurant, in the 1990s, with business types in suits sitting all around, chowing down on the catch of the day. Theo walked in and all conversation stopped and all eyes followed as he walked to my table. He was dressed in black leather, black hat, his fingers and ears heavy with silver jewelry. A man of unique personal style, he was oblivious, or pretended to be, to all the attention focused on him throughout the meal. The men in business uniform would have related better to Theo’s conversation, often about his beloved Buffalo Bills football team.
This memory sprang to mind with the sad news from Nicole – one of his daughters and a fine designer herself – that Theo had died on Wednesday, from complications from pneumonia. Nicole writes: “Although he was not responsive during his final days, he was peaceful, comfortable, and in no pain. My sisters, Lisa, Emily, and I were with him during this time and he seemed aware and comforted by our presence. Throughout the night, we took turns reading F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby to him, and finished just a few hours before he passed.
The Great Gatsby was Dad’s favourite book, of which he owned countless copies. He felt he owed much to that book for inspiration in his life and obviously counted it among the greatest works of art and beauty that have been created. We are having a celebration of his life at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto on Tuesday, January 24th at 3:00 p.m.”