ForeverMissed
Tributes
This tribute was added by Adele Steinberg on July 30, 2020
I was an art student of Jay's for over 20 years. He was always, kind, encouraging and made the class so much fun. We were a group of artists that continued year after year to sign up for his classes.
I look around my home and see all the paintings I created with his encouragement and help.
He will be missed by me and all the thousands of art students that he encouraged to love art and succeed.
This tribute was added by Patricia Fontana on July 30, 2020

First and foremost my deepest condolences to Jay's family and his many students on this immeasurable loss.

Jay lived across the street from my piano teacher on Langbourne Place. We surmised we likely met as teenagers at one of her Messiah concerts. If not, it was September 1996 when I started art classes at Cedar Ridge. Despite living in the west end of the city, I made my weekly trek. We all loved Jay's classes. The atmosphere was relaxed and unstructured so students could work on their medium and project of choice. His classes were often lessons in nature. Jay knew every bird, mammal and insect. There was talk of travel, adventures, politics, movies- you name it. During our many rides to the subway, we shared precious one on one time.

Over the years, Jay inspired us to do our best. Whether it was scumbling, creating clouds and knowing how to balance lights and darks. When a project was finished, Jay would do a "walk around" to showcase the final product. Students came and went but there were several of us who took classes for years. Jay had a big following. I always thought how would I do artwork without Jay-now this time has unfortunately arrived.

In April, I received a text starting with "Hi Honey". I thought who is this! It was Jay checking to see how I was doing during COVID. He said his summer classes were cancelled but he was happy doing commission work at home. He even said he was starting to look like Santa! That was the last I heard from Jay.

I was privileged to know Jay for so many years. He was well loved and touched countless lives. To so many of us, he was like family,a beloved teacher and dear friend. He will be incredibly missed.


This tribute was added by Jay Remer on July 30, 2020
Jay's friendship extends many years back as a close friend of our family. His talents as an artist, his many kindnesses as a dear friend, and his great sense of humor will always remain. I hope you rest in peace, dear man. With much love from us all. You are now with our dear Frankie and Mabel.
This tribute was added by Asiya Khan on July 29, 2020
I was Jay's student at Cedar Ridge Creative Centre for the last five years. He was a great teacher and an amazing person. He helps me a lot not only as in painting but to grow as a person. He understands my shyness and slowly helps me comes out of my shell. I will truly miss him and it will be very difficult next time to go to Cedar Ridge and not seeing him there.
This tribute was added by Shelley Schell on July 28, 2020
It's so hard to think of Haliburton School of Art + Design summer school without Jay. Like his sister Laura, I can't bring to mind exactly how long he's been part of our lives but I know it can be marked in decades as opposed to years. Decades of annual reunions with Jay became decades of annual reunions with his students as well - he had a strong and loyal following! It was always a delight to visit his classroom where long-time students worked away in comfortable silence or exchanged playful banter with each other and Jay. He brought so much to the school and to those of us who worked with him, learned from him, and enjoyed his company. I'll treasure memories of his presence, kindness, wisdom, and humour. I'm honoured to have had the opportunity to have two generations of Dampf's in my life, having also worked with Joe for many years. My heartfelt condolences to Jay's family and friends. You're in my heart.
This tribute was added by Gary Stokes on July 26, 2020
May I sit? asks the teacher who is wearing a jaunty shirt and multi=coloured paint smears on his pants. Now explain to me how you see the problem. Here let me demonstrate on another sheet. OK Now see what you can do! Try loosening up a bit and get away from your painting now and again. I'll be back shortly. Jay is /was my teacher and friend. His phrases, his instructions, his insightful way of teaching art will always be present in future endeavors. I already miss him.
This tribute was added by Heather Czarnota on July 26, 2020
We are so sorry for the whole family's loss. Matt and I enjoyed spending time with Jay at the cottage where there were many stories, walks in the woods, games and songs. It was so clear that Jay lived spending this time with his family. We remember dear Edna and how close the two of them were.
Sending love to all the family at this difficult time. May your wonderful memories bring you comfort. 
Heather, Matt, Ben & Claire Czarnota
This tribute was added by Shannon Gordon on July 26, 2020
if we are lucky, once in a lifetime we meet someone that truly inspires us to be the best that we can be. For me, that was my art teacher, Jay Dampf.

He was undoubtedly the reason I got into a highly competitive Fine Arts Program in University and in the years that followed, because of his guidance my work evolved. He built confidence in my work and I was fortunate to exhibit work alongside his students. Though my career path moved to Graphic Design, I kept attending Jay’s classes for 20 years, following him around all over the city and even to Sunbury Shores on the coast of New Brunswick, where we got to paint from life.

He was unlike any art teacher I had ever met, and someone that I will always respect. He will always be remembered for his passion for art, kind gentle spirit and incredible stories.

I was devastated to hear of his passing yesterday.
I vow to keep on painting, with his memory being kept alive in each brushstroke.

To his students, may the memory of him live on in each and every painting. To his family and friends, deeply sorry for your loss, his legacy will live on
This tribute was added by Laura Robbs on July 25, 2020
Jay’s younger sister Rosanne decided to head to Canada from Australia in July 2019, in part, to visit with our 91-year-old father. Jay’s sisters Rosanne and Laura decided that as part of Rosanne’s visit that they would take Jay’s painting course at Fleming College in Haliburton where Jay had taught for years and years (we cannot remember how long however our father Joe Dampf, also taught woodcarving at the school for years). We rented a small Air B & B just outside of Haliburton to where we returned exhausted after painting for 6-8 hours daily Monday to Friday. The area around Haliburton Ontario is so amazingly beautiful. 
Laura and Rosanne are so very happy to have participated in his painting course in Haliburton as we were able to see him in his element and at his absolute best and not as an annoying younger/older brother!! Not feeling like one has any interest (or talent – this is Laura talking), in painting, and entering a room where the most amazing female painters (just happened to be all ladies that week), was very intimidating (Laura speaking again).  We did not even know where to start but Jay, in his amazing teaching style, circulated through the room continuously, assisting all of us no matter how experienced or inexperienced, we were as painters. 

Laura remembers in particular feeling very insecure saying “I feel and paint like such an amateur” and Jay replied “of course, you are an amateur” which of course was true but at the same time his assessment took me by surprise!! By the end of the week, with the support of Jay and of all the other painters, we ended up with paintings that we have actually mounted on walls in our home/cottage. His sisters will treasure these memories not only among us “girls” but the time we spent with Jay. Rosanne and Laura are feeling heartbroken with the loss of our brother Jay. 
This tribute was added by Dan Sernasie on July 25, 2020
Jay was my cousin and friend. I felt a particular connection as we were the same age and often gravitated and related to each other at family gatherings. I remember him for his gentle kind nature. Always positive. Always with a smile and a laugh. Like his father Joe, he impressed me with his artistic talents. I will cherish the memories of our last conversation we shared just a short while ago at the memorial for the passing of his father. We reminisced about family, life and art. Perhaps most of all, his sensitivity and insights to the people and world around him is what makes Jay so special. Rest in peace my friend.
This tribute was added by Fran Schram on July 24, 2020
For over 15 years, all winter I have eagerly anticipated our July week spent painting with Jay at Sunbury Shores. In the earliest years, when we were just learning to paint, I remember gazing into Jays classroom in awe and admiration from the doorway as we went to our beginner class across the hall.  Jay graciously invited us in to view the ongoing art work and assured us quite adamantly that we too could paint wondrous things. Thanks to his calm positive encouragement and his assurance that it was possible, we graduated from across the hall and became dedicated students of Jays for the next 15 years plus.... I will truly miss his smiling face, his welcome hug, his tales of his adventures, his helpful instruction and his incredible talent. Sunbury Shores will never be the same without Jay.
This tribute was added by Sarah MACLeod0 on July 24, 2020
I always looked up to him as an artist. He gave me so much advise regarding being an artist. Loved his work. And he had a wicked sense of humour. Always easy to talk to. Always interested in listening and being a good friend. New ideas was always welcomed by him. I will greatly miss Jay.
This tribute was added by Marielle Stowe on July 24, 2020
I attended Jay's classes at Cedar Ridge for at least 10 years, Cedar Ridge will never be the same without Jay. We shared some personal memories with him, he had a nice celebration after my husband passed away, although my husband was not one of his students but they both enjoyed each other's company. He played the harp for us a few times, he was a wonderful signer and he made us laugh. A very warm lovely person. We will never forget him.
This tribute was added by Margaret Chown on July 23, 2020
My sincere condolences to Jay's family and friends. I knew Jay as a fellow instructor at Cedar Ridge. He was passionate about his art and teaching, an inspiration to all. He will be missed.
This tribute was added by Susan Cairns on July 23, 2020
First I would like to offer my condolences to the Dampf family. Jay was a special person in so many ways. I have spent the past 15+years attending Jay’s class at Sunbury Shores and have so appreciated his wit, expertise, rambling stories and dedication to his art.. When I look at the paintings that “Jay and I” did in class , that hang in my home, I feel so lucky to have known him and appreciate what a fine man he was.
This tribute was added by Roxane Bruce on July 23, 2020
Jay was a very special person to me. He was my teacher and my friend. He inspired me and encouraged me to be the best artist I could be. He saw what I often failed to see. I am going to miss him so much but feel very grateful for the many years he has been my teacher and friend. This poem by Mary Oliver expresses what Jay taught me and how I will always see and remember him.

Snow Geese

Oh, to love what is lovely, and will not last!
  What a task
   to ask

of anything, or anyone,

yet it is ours,
  and not by the century or the year, but by the hours.

One fall day I heard
  above me, and above the sting of the wind, a sound
I did not know, and my look shot upward; it was

a flock of snow geese winging it
  faster than the ones we usually see,
and, being the color of snow, catching the sun

so they were, in part at least, golden. I

held my breath
as we do
sometimes
to stop time
when something wonderful
has touched us

as with a match
which is lit, and bright,
but does not hurt
in the common way,

but delightfully,
as if delight
were the most serious thing
you ever felt.

The geese
flew on.
I have never
seen them again.

Maybe I will, someday, somewhere.
Maybe I won't.
It doesn't matter.
What matters
is that, when I saw them,
I saw them
as through the veil, secretly, joyfully, clearly.
This tribute was added by Donald Purvis on July 23, 2020
We first met Jay while he was working on a mural for a downtown Toronto bar.  Upon learning that Jay taught art courses in Saint Andrews NB we signed up and have been taking courses at Sunbury Shores for nearly 20 years. Jay was a good and natural teacher who could bring out the best in his student's abilities. It was such a pleasure to be in Jay's classes and he will be so sadly missed. Thank you Jay Dampf
This tribute was added by Denise Gracias on July 23, 2020
I have known Jay since 2005. I still remember the first time I walked into his classroom at Cedar Ridge, new to painting and intimidated by the depth of talent displayed by the other students. He immediately came to me and said "These students have been with me for years....don't be intimidated by them." Since that day, he has been instrumental in making my artistic dreams a reality. I appreciated his patience in teaching me as beginner....working on a variety of mediums and subjects.. I don't think there was anything he could not teach me. Yet, he also gave me the space to try new things.  I most appreciate his openness and enthusiasm in helping me bring Biblical scenes to life. His sense of humor and honesty about issues, even if I did not agree, only made the classes more enjoyable.

I cannot even begin to say how shocked and sad I am that he will no longer be with me on my journey. I would like to let his family know that he was well loved and appreciated by this student. I am so glad that I told him several times over the years and always shared with him the artistic milestones in my life. 

May God bless his soul and may he rest in eternal peace.

This tribute was added by Nedda Zaharelos on July 23, 2020
I’m feeling so sad and shocked. Jay and I didn’t always agree in concepts but I respected Him and His work. Jay was a keystone for Cedar Ridge. What a great loss! He will be truly missed. My heart goes out to the family during this difficult time.
This tribute was added by Alison Galley on July 22, 2020
I feel very fortunate to have had Jay as my painting instructor for the past 3 years at Cedar Ridge Creative Centre. He was devoted to teaching, and constantly milled about the studio offering valuable advice, sharing endless painting techniques, praising his students’ completed works and proudly parading them for classmates to see. I never tired of Jay’s stories, no matter how many times he repeated them and loved the passion and unique brand of humour that permeated all his ideas and opinions about art, music and life. Despite his struggles with his health in recent years, Jay was always a lively presence in the studio and took delight in the seasonal changes and wonders of nature that surround Cedar Ridge. He delighted in describing ghostly sounds and sightings that occurred within its walls over the years. Jay obviously believed in the spiritual world and his legacy and spirit will continue to be felt at Cedar Ridge by many of us. He will be sadly missed.
This tribute was added by Salem Alaton on July 22, 2020
I knew of Jay's many creative skills and saw some of his wonderful work but what I most experienced face to face in our handful of meetings over many years was his wry, insightful humour. He was able to tease his family and himself in a good-spirited, light but also incisive way. So sorry for the Dampf family and for big brother Mike, a dear friend to whom I'm always indebted. Too soon, of course, too soon. Thinking of you all.
This tribute was added by Ted Hamer on July 22, 2020
As often the case when someone passes you wish you had known them better. I taught classes alongside Jay and often we would share a few short words between classes or on the Cedar Ridge grounds.
I can attest that Jay had a very dedicated following, he will live on through his own creations as well as in the art that he has inspired by his students.
My condolences to his family and friends.
This tribute was added by Mary Casement on July 22, 2020
When I think of Jay these are the words that come to mind: sensitive, caring, tender, thoughtful, wildly creative, generous, funny with a great sense of humour and quick to laugh, perceptive, intuitive, sincere, a true and honest faithful friend. He had an amazing gift for teaching in the most supportive and encouraging casual style that challenged students and brought out the best in them. He was in his glory at a dinner table regaling friends with his hysterically funny anecdotes complete with sound effects and gestures. He loved routine and structure and enjoyed a calm and organized lifestyle especially in St Andrews which he considered his home away from home.

There are so many memories of zany dinner parties, quiet relaxed evenings sitting in quiet conversation on the deck, long chats, fun shopping trips to Marden’s and many, many more wonderful moments of just simple honest friendship and mutual love and respect. He was and always will be a hugely important figure in my life. He loved St. Andrews and St. Andrews loved him. I miss him terribly.
This tribute was added by Mike Williams on July 22, 2020
On behalf of the City of Toronto and his work colleagues, current and former, as well as his many students at Cedar Ridge Creative Centre, I would like to express our sympathies to the family and friends of Jay. He was a beloved, talented artist, painter and arts educator, who built up over his twenty years of teaching at Cedar Ridge, a huge dedicated following of painting students. Thank you Jay for your commitment to the arts in Toronto!
Mike Williams, City of Toronto
This tribute was added by Susan Dodds on July 22, 2020
Taking courses from Jay at Sunbury Shores was the highlight of my summer for several years. In that week, he created a community that painted, laughed and supported each other. He encouraged us to challenge ourselves and gently suggested that I try painting something other than lighthouses! When I painted a seascape and pointed out that there was no lighthouse, he ,laughingly said, “ well there is some progress!” My daughter joined me a couple of summers and Jay welcomed her and helped her boost her confidence-much needed at the time. We both have paintings that were made better because of his input and both feel privileged to have known Jay . He made each of us feel special and valued. We will miss him and send our thoughts to family and friends. Susan

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