Donald Vanderbeek, a former art director for the Dayton Daily News, died at his home in Malibu, Calif., on Friday, Jan. 31, from esophageal cancer. He was 64.
In 1995, after 15 years at the newspaper, Vanderbeek moved to California, where he worked with animation studios such as MGM, Hannah Barbara, Nickelodeon, Disney and The Simpsons. His illustrations ranged from children’s books and conceptual storyboards for movies to national magazines.
“He was Beek to everyone who knew him,” said Randy Palmer, who worked with Vanderbeek at the newspaper and said his friend’s work defined newspaper illustration in the 1970s and ’80s. “His work was recognized nationally and he received the industry’s top awards. Don’s artistic talents were only surpassed by his sense of humor and his devotion to his family and friends.” ...
His family related:
Donald William Vanderbeek passed away peacefully at his home in the mountains of Malibu, California on Friday, January 31st, 2014. He suffered from esophageal cancer and its complications discovered one year ago. His positive attitude throughout the year was beyond description, always making friends with everyone new he encountered.
Don was born in Dearfield, IL on August 9th, 1949. He was the son of Presbyterian minister, Dr. Bernard and Genevieve Vanderbeek. His childhood was spent in Holland, MI, Knoxville, TN, and in Charleston, WV where he graduated from George Washington H.S. in 1967. Don received a Bachelor's degree from The School of the Dayton Art Institute in 1972.
Starting at Graphics Three in Dayton, OH he then moved to the Dayton Daily News where he became Art Director. His impact during his 15 years here was substantial as the art department became a force of change for newspapers of that day. In 1995 the lure of southern California became too great and he moved on to work with animation studios such as MGM, Hanna-Barbera, Nickelodeon, Disney and The Simpsons. ...
Don knew no stranger, friends were family and family were friends. You knew you were marked when you were called one of his many terms of endearment such as "honey-sweety", "peaches and cream pie-face" and "tootsala" to name just a few! He often spoke of his "curse of charm" which claimed many victims, but his creativity and positive outlook were infectious. Don was very generous with his art, always creating a card or a painting for someone in particular. All were welcome in his home which he described as a museum. From geodes, fossils, and civil war artifacts to his beloved library of art, film, and naturalist books he took great care in all of them.
Don is survived by his two sons, Karl (Rhonda) Vanderbeek and Jon (Sarah) Vanderbeek, and granddaughters Anna, Annika, Ella and Hannah. He is also survived by his brother, Randy (Patti) Vanderbeek and sister Nancy Elliott as well as many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his sister Sally Hutchison, and brother Larry Vanderbeek. He leaves many dear friends as well.
Condolences to Don's family and friends. A creative light has gone out.