Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Goodbye Emru Townsend, 1969-2008

From Tamu Townsend:

Emru took his last breath just before 10 pm tonight. He died peacefully surrounded by his family. He taught me how to live. He taught me how you are supposed to die. Emru's name means RESPECT. Emru, the person, also means compassion, learning, teaching, sharing, love, integrity, honesty, and inspiration. He taught a lot of people a lot of things, but he spent 2008 teaching people how to reach out to one another in a whole new way. If you carry some of this forward, it will be a year even better spent. Thank you for being part of his journey. Tamu

I mentioned Emru and his battle with Leukemia here a few weeks ago. He will be greatly missed.
Emru was a tremendous friend to the animation community. Read his story please.

Reactions to the news are popping up. I'm going to go ahead and post a few as I tumble to them.
Chris Robinson:

Animation lost a pal late last night…and more than that the world lost another good person. And I don’t mean that in a glib, he’s dead so let’s say only nice things sorta way. Emru Townsend was truly a good person. He was compassionate, sharing and positive to the point of making me uncomfortable (hey, that’s just me. It’s easier to be cynical). We weren’t buddies, pals, chums, bros, but we did know each other for about 12 years. I am forever grateful to Emru for being the first person to publish my writing on animation. It was in his beloved magazine Fps. I submitted a piece just for the heck of it and was quite pleased when Emru accepted it. It gave me confidence as a writer and told me that, hey, maybe this is a path I want to explore. So, selfishly, I thank you for that Emru.

What’s with animation losing good young people lately? Helen Hill. Wendy Jackson Hall. Emru Townsend. I guess the gods above, below and beyond don’t like the toons. Assholes. It’s not fair. It sucks.

Meantime… I send all things good to Emru’s family…and especially to Vicky, Max and Tamu.

From the PWAC website:

Some of you knew Emru, while others, like me, never had a chance to meet him, but we all mourn his loss as a fellow writer, former PWAC member and an altogether great human being. He certainly inspired me throughout his courageous struggle to beat leukemia. Although it ultimately got the better of him, he educated me and many others about stem cell donation and how each of us have the potential to save a life of the many others out there still suffering with this disease. We should all appreciate our health while we have it.

Madeline Ashby:

It doesn’t feel real, yet.

Emru Townsend has died.

In many ways, Emru helped initiate me into Canadian life. He asked me to be a contributor to Frames Per Second Magazine, and gave me the opportunity to get to know Canada through the Toronto International Film Festival. (I later volunteered for the same organization.) On his errand, I visited the offices of the NFB, and saw the same Norman MacLaren shorts that many Canadian children see at school. He inadvertently exposed me to a slice of Canadian culture.

Of course, he did even more for a huge amount of people. He and his sister brought the need for minority registrants to the OneMatch bone marrow and stem cell registry home to Canadians in the arts and technology sector, especially residents of Montreal. He helped explain anime fandom. He gave a lot of people their start at FPS. He was a writer, a husband, and father.

And now he’s gone.

An amazing post by Mark Mayerson, too long to quote, but well worth the read.
Harry McCracken
Didier Ghez
Cartoon Brew

It's wonderful to read through through the comments people are making. Emru obviously touched so many lives, more than he knew, I'm certain. I didn't have the pleasure of knowing him personally and I think I may be adding that to my list of regrets. Emru's life, and death, are an example.

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