Ellis' Final Days Made Colorful –Cagle
In May of 2009, I interviewed Dan Ellis, along with Frank Tantillo and Ray Cody, for the June cover story on C&S Press of Orlando, FL. Eight months after the article appeared, Ellis received life-altering news: He was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's Disease.
ALS victims generally live about three years (Stephen Hawking is a notable exception, having survived nearly 50 years so far with a form of ALS). Ellis succumbed to the disease on June 18, four days after his 52nd birthday, leaving behind a wife and three children. He had roughly 28 months to say goodbye and, according to his obituary, Ellis made the most of his time left.
As the disease robbed Ellis of the ability to do the things he loved, such as traveling, boating and tennis, he developed an affinity for abstract painting. According to the Orlando Sentinel, his mother was an acrylic portrait artist and his two sisters were painters. But they encouraged Ellis to find his own canvas magic, expressed in abstracts of hot and cold. As a printer, color was the one thing he knew inside and out.
"He never thought he was a good artist," Ellis' widow, Maria, told the newspaper. "He knew color, but he never in his life imagined putting it on a canvas."
As his condition worsened, Ellis would rely on his daughter, Gina, to carry out his artistic vision. He would text her ideas and, toward the end, would use eye blinking to communicate. Even when his body wouldn't respond, Ellis' heart helped convey his sentiments, courtesy of his daughter.
"She became his arms for the vision he had," Maria noted of Gina.
No one was allowed to wear black at Dan Ellis' memorial service. Musical selections included Coldplay, Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin. Don Potter sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," and as a tip of the hat to the man who enjoyed life to the fullest, there was an empty bottle of Bacardi rum, a diet Coke and a lime. His ashes were spread in the Bahamas.
It seems, in addition to leaving footprints in the sand, Dan Ellis sprinkled in some color. His disease, like his troubles, has melted like lemon drops.
TAKEN TO SCHOOL: With the start of school just on the horizon, it never ceases to amaze how there are always a handful of stories in June about botched diplomas. There's supposed to be irony in the notion that an imperfect document is commemorating the graduation of hundreds, if not thousands, of students. Well, A) who on earth actually reads a diploma? and B) c'mon, just how flawless was YOUR academic record?
Really, who cares about the writing on the certificate? Gold-foil embossing is all this reporter needs; you know you've made it in life when someone gives you a certificate that's got a nice embossing. You run a finger over it and let out a quietly-respectful "ooh." Throw on a logo or a coat of arms, and here comes the goose bumps.
Anyway, one of the gaffes occurred in Prince George's County, MD, ruining 8,000 diplomas. We won't "pants" (ID) the printer, because it absorbed the blame and provided replacement sheepskins at their own expense, likely before the graduation party hangovers had gone away. But another example was a little more amusing.
The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs from the University of Texas/Austin had more than a little egg on its face when it was discovered that the commencement program had a conspicuously missing "L" from the word "public" in the school's name. The in-plant that producedthe programs made good on their lost L's and sent three corrected copies to each of the 135 graduates, out of its own pocket, no less.
Let it be known that most printers are honest, forthright and willing to take the heat when warranted. Accountability used to be a given throughout the business world, and now it has become noteworthy when firms do the right thing.
Still, the "School of Pubic Affairs" tickles the seventh grader who lives in all of us.
SEE IT FROM SPACE?: Courtesy of our amigo Kevin Keane, dean of the Facebook group IAPHC, The Graphic Professionals Resource Network, we give you the world's largest QR Code. Not sure that the folks at "Guinness Book of World Records" has blessed it as such, but the effort is noteworthy nonetheless.
Youth Unlimited (Toronto YFC) and hundreds of supporters created the World's Largest QR Code on June 16 inside the city's Esther Shiner Stadium. All funds raised from the event go to support the programs of Youth Unlimited North York, a faith-based agency that provides at-risk youths with programs that support personal, spiritual and professional growth.
In all, nearly 1,400 participants held up black or white squares. In order to raise a square and become part of the historic code, participants raised sponsorship funds. With participants holding the squares tightly together, the code was scanned by a smartphone. The code was snapped from a helicopter by the person who raised the most money.
The minimum fee was $25 per participant, so a lot of money is bound for a worthwhile cause. Visit http://theqrcode.ca to learn more about the project. PI