his Life

Gregory 'Jay' Dampf: March 7, 1960 to July 12, 2020

Jay was a kind soul with a gentle sense of humour. A talented artist and art teacher for over four decades who brought out the best in his students across Canada.

He had an amazing gift for teaching art in a highly supportive, encouraging and casual style that challenged his students and brought out the best in them. He had an ability to create an atmosphere of infectious enthusiasm and relaxed, constructive learning full of painterly intent. He made anyone and everyone feel like an artist - art was a privilege he felt anyone could be taught to explore, create and enjoy. From his many students he fostered many classroom-sized creative societies that flourished for decades. Jay's classes attracted both the curious beginner and the experienced artist and they all ended up as his friends. His classes were renowned for the students returning year after year and decade after decade.

He is remembered for his love of family, his 'whooping' laugh and his gentle soul, his love for his art students and old, classic movies. He loved St Andrews by the Sea in New Brunswick, its people and the art school, Sunbury Shores Art and Nature Centre. Every summer he taught at and enjoyed Fleming College in Haliburton as well as at Cedar Ridge Creative Centre in Toronto. He was loyal, funny, self-deprecating, generous, social, fun-loving and full of boyish enthusiasm. He retained many traditional hands-on skills and crafts and became increasingly frustrated by the impersonal and high-tech digital world. He loved routine and structure and preferred a calm, organised lifestyle.

His reputation earned him the 'Award of Teaching Excellence' from the Toronto Board of Education. His art has won many awards in Canada and the U.S.and his work hangs on walls across North America. He decorated and painted several of Mel Lastman's moose! His artistic interests were as wide and varied as his education and life experience. From training with artist Glen Loates to his early jobs at the Keg (where he earned the moniker 'Super Fly' until he got too close to the flames and received 2nd degree burns!) to the prestigious, specialized art program at Central Tech in Toronto as well as George Brown College's Fine and Commercial Arts program. 

Jay's interest in wildlife started at a young age (answering the door with a bark; building a snake nest in the backyard woodpile and transporting the critters indoors for a 'bath';doing impersonations of deer in the forest across the river from the cottage; carrying and using a bird whistle for years.) It seemed he knew every bird and animal. Wildlife, art and archaeology sparked his travels through Africa, South America, the Galapagos and Europe.

He had a beautiful baritone voice and sang with a choir for many years. He played a lovely harp, percussion and the black keys of the piano (the white ones weren't necessary.) He created many murals in Toronto's Gay Village (notably at the Black Eagle Leather Bar.)

Jay is mourned by his brothers and sisters, his communities, his friends and his many, many students. He was in his glory at the dinner table regaling family and friends with hysterically funny anecdotes and stories complete with sound effects and gestures. He moved through life as gently as he could. He showed his care and concern for others. He was special.

Jay was predeceased by his parents Joan and Joe. He leaves his siblings Mike, Laura, Rosanne and Jody as well as his sister-in-law Becky and brothers-in-law Jeff and Shane.His  nieces and nephews will truly miss and remember him as well: Jason, Eric, Trevor, Hana, Jack and Kate.