On October 5, 2021, Gilles Champagne, our friend and dear calligraphy colleague, bid us farewell.
This man of endearing simplicity and so accessible, shared his passion for calligraphy with generosity and humor.
However, the past year was particularly difficult for him. With all the appointments with numerous specialists of different hospitals and CLSCs, he lived many difficult moments, both physically and mentally, yet despite everything, he never complained. Throughout these challenges, Gilles continued to produce a monthly contribution for our virtual Calli group, except for September, the month he no longer had the energy to begin. He was so totally invested in calligraphy that he was always very happy to always be the first to send his calligraphy work to our colleague Louise Rousseau, who assembled everyone’s works for the virtual sharing.
Gilles, who has taught me calligraphy since 2015, was a godsend to me and I am very proud to cherish the memory of everything he has shared with me. There are so many happy moments filled with great humor and laughter and simply seeing his splendid greeting cards. On top of that, imagine all the envelopes he personally calligraphed and sent to each member… yes you read that right, to each member of the Société des calligraphes de Montréal for the publications of our magazine Arabesque. He did this during so many years with his boundless resilience, but what he loved most of all, was receiving cards from his students. So much so, that every year he jokingly informed us that his birthday was September 8, just to be sure to receive some. And, even if the card he received was rather modest, he always came up with magic words that was soothing to my heart; …”it’s far out beautiful!” How I miss his soft words of encouragement!
Gilles turned 80 on September 8 and his important wishes came true: to celebrate his 80th birthday with family and to receive many greeting cards.
Every time that you will think of Gilles, his memory will live on again. When you share an anecdote about him, when you put to practice the advice he gave you, when you remember the good times spent together… With each of these occasions, the spirit of his presence will live on.
Thank you, Gilles, for all the wonderful calligraphic moments shared with you.
By Marie Pierre Robert
Translation by Carole Scheffer