ForeverMissed
Stories

Adventure

Shared by Karen King on August 5, 2020
Jay was a wealth of Wildlife Knowledge.  As kids he taught us all of the Groups of species and I remember his favorite was a "Murder" of Ravens.  He taught his sister and I how to rub a Bull Frogs stomach and make it sing.  Most of my favorite adventures with Jay were at the Toronto Zoo where he would interact with many of the animals.  He would throw Snowballs to the Seals, Dandillions to the Baboons, and would lure the Marmosettes to the front of the cage with shiney objects.  Jay had us always wear green on Zoo days to imitate the Zookeepers clothing.  This really worked.  We had all the Animals attentions.  He liked fish as well and we would have to often search for his Newt in the house before it dried up.

I always loved Jay's Wildlife Art.  As a kid I remember much of Jay's art hanging on the Dampf Household walls.  Surprisingly to me, sometimes they would just disappear as Jay couldn't afford new canvases and would reuse them.  The Dampf house boasted handmade wallpaper in the basement and Jay and Rosy even made hand painted wrapping paper.  I was always in awe of Jay.

Jay and his sister Rosanne had wonderful imaginations.  Every trip with both of them was not an outing but an Adventure.  The both of them would make mazes in the basement so when I entered cushions would rain down on my head.  All of the Dampf's helped to make my childhood wonderful.

Sending heartfelt condolences to all the Dampf's, with a hug and a tear.


Regards to the Dampf family

Shared by Mary McDonald on July 26, 2020
OMG... I heard the devastatingly sad news this morning about Jay! 
As an adult, I had not taken any art lessons. Choosing Bloor & Yonge as a convenient location (8 minute subway ride), I ended up with Jay as my art instructor, 3 years ago. What a delightful surprise!
I remain grateful for the 2 hours, once every Monday,  of wonderful guidance from Jay. It was truly life-changing and eye-opening to sit at this ‘tip of the iceberg’ and watch Jay direct us all to calmer waters & deeper understanding of acrylic painting techniques.  It felt like contortions to sign up for the Seniors Sunshine Centre (in the united church) as it was geared to seniors but up to 4 non-seniors were allowed in. That was me. So fortunate to be the ‘token’ non-senior, to have Jay circling around the room with his dry comments. It was delightful to hear him laughing out loud when any of us moaned that we ‘were suffering for our art’. 
Jay will be sorely missed by all his students. We were all waiting for the pandemic to pass so that we could see him again. As students, we wer all stricken to hear of his medical issues on the east coast and subsequent operations back in Toronto. I can only hope that Jay did not become a Covid statistic. 

An Extended Childhood

Shared by Rosanne Dampf on July 26, 2020
Being close in age, Jay and I were often thrown together as kids and expected to entertain ourselves. We had unfettered access to an idiot box from about 6-10am Saturday mornings, but apart from those glorious moments, we were otherwise expected to play in the basement or outside and basically show up for meals.

It meant that we shared both a close group of neighbour friends as well as a special childhood bond. We were 'comrades in arms' against older siblings (who were too similar to parents) and, with the extra parent-free moments gained from having a younger autistic brother, we were able to extend our childhoods far beyond what's probably normal.

Jay and I had childhoods spent most days in each other's company. I reaped endless hours of fun from his rich ability to create imaginative games. The half hour walk to St Bonnies grade school along the railway tracks became hunting expeditions or we'd take the long way through neighbourhood streets picking everyone's front-yard flowers and have bouquet competitions before dumping them outside the gates. We'd created other 'worlds' with secret signals to indicate that one or other of us 'was entering that space' (and the other of course had to follow). We'd try and continue these games once we'd arrive at school, leaving notes for each other or, in one failed attempt to remain in contact, by each holding the end of a string regardless that our classes were 3 floors apart. As adults we often reminisced about our games – aware of the privilege a secure childhood rich in free time outdoors brings with it.

Most of our games were either animal focused or design related. I particularly loved the hours (if not days) of building either toboggan runs, forts, igloos or civilisations (Patti and Karen do you remember "The Sun Gods"?). Jay loved the animal adventures. One of my favourites was our slow patient building up over weeks of a large gardener snake nest in the wood pile. Then, when we were home alone one hot summer day bringing them all inside for a refreshing bath.The inevitable escape from the bathroom and lack of round-up afterwards causing an unfortunate backlash for some time (dead crusty snakes were found under furniture for years afterwards).

Jay had a Toronto Zoo membership. In our teens and early twenties even we'd go on the days when the weather was at its very worst in the hopes we'd be the only visitors. I've treasured memories of snowstorms, rekindled childhoods and warm humid zoo pavilions eating McDonalds cherry pies with my pal. 

Animal Boy

Shared by Mike Dampf on July 24, 2020
The 'barking like a dog' line in Jay's bio reminds me of just how deeply he explored animals in his very young imagination. I swear there were whole weeks where every time you'd notice him he'd be somewhere in the house crouching like a cat and licking the backs of his 'paws' or barking at the doorbell or imitating the leap of a gazelle over the ottoman. While the others were rumbling around in the forest across the river from the cottage pushing down trees that were ready to fall (just for the excitement of the crash) Jay would be pretending to be a deer and peaking out from behind some tree trunk at us in alarm.He imitated the mating calls of gnus, wildebeast and elephants fairly frequently, as I recall, at the dinner table. I don't remember how long these expressions of his inner animal went on for but, looking back, it was clear that he watched the televised nature shows of the time  (i.e. Jim risking life and limb during Mutual of Omaha's WILD KINGDOM" with Marlin safely perched in a helicopter above) with an entirely different set of eyes and sensibilities than the rest of us. I could always ask him  'What bird is making that call" and he'd always know the answer.

The animal boy had his own animals too - fish, lizards (and crickets to feed them) a parrot for a while ('the nightmare' as he described it.) For 25 cents the neighbourhood kids could watch his praying mantis 'battle it out' in a little cardboard box theatre he built in the backyard (complete with curtains.)  There were always animals in his art and life but he found his best animal experience, it seems to me,  in his pug 'Edna'. Edna, with her spaghetti thick legs, bulging bullfrog eyes, abhorrence of exercise  and 'pot roast' profile was his good friend for a number of years. She almost drowned once trying to 'rescue' him while we were waist deep in Georgian Bay. Those puny legs were windmilling but she sank like a stone. We laughed about that for a long time!


Langbourne Place

Shared by Patricia Borovilos Defrei... on July 22, 2020
I just want to say to the Dampf family
how truly sad this news is about Jay.
i lived on langbourne Place along with the
Dampfs, everyone knew everyone and even our parents knew each other, Don Mills was a special place to live back in day. We all played together each and everyday, those where care free days, nothing to worry about,the only thing 
is that we always ended up playing at the Dampfs house. Jay had a great way to make up games to play haunted house in Karen’s garage we where frozen statues, playing in the fresh cut grass making animal houses, and going to the big hill in the winter, anddi t forget the haunted house in the summer at Norman Ingram School gym, Peter Pan at the foster house jay was Captain Hook, and he looked the part, he was the director of the play.
Jay will be sadly missed I’m so sorry we feel out of touch. Your flying with the Angels

Jay - sharing a room with your brother

Shared by Mike Dampf on July 22, 2020
I shared a bedroom with brother Jay from his second or third year until I left home in 1976 or so ... about 18 years I guess. We got under each other's skins ... regularly. He was the shy, sensitive, artistic one who knew just how to get me going. I was the 'jock' ish, weightlifting guitar playing oldest brother who was always teasing and taunting him. There were four years between us, in age. At some point in the late 60's or early 70's dad built us a really cool bedroom in the basement: it had monkey bars built into the ceiling, orange padded cabinets and psychedelic murals that dad painted (in those days dad wore his hair longer and had flowery, balloon sleeves and big fake gold necklaces ... he was just getting into painting himself.) I was at 'that' age, grade 10, girls, being so self centred and 'so' important.Things started building up between us. Everything he did bugged me and he wasn't letting up on quietly twisting the screw. It finally reached the point where something had to give ... and he gave it. He just wound up and punched me as hard as he could in the face. I was stunned. Moments later I said 'you really hit me'. He said 'you really deserved it!'
Things were much better after that.

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