I’m sad to report that longtime Buzzer cartoonist Bob Banks passed away on Sunday, May 17, at the age of 86.
For those who don’t know, Bob spent 22 years as the Buzzer’s cartoonist, illustrating our newsletter from 1954 to 1976. His cartoons were a beloved fixture of the Buzzer, and still something that many people talk about fondly even today.
I was lucky enough to meet Bob last year, after I tracked him down for a Buzzer anniversary article. At 85, Bob was still spry, amazingly funny, and incredibly humble.
He was happy to talk about his time with the Buzzer and his long career as a professional illustrator. He had been illustrating in the Lower Mainland since 1954, drawing everything from annual reports to maps to calendars for clients like B.C. Electric, CP Air, Canfor, the RCMP, and the B.C. government.
And last year, TransLink was also lucky enough to rekindle a working relationship with Bob.
We commissioned him to do a special cartoon for the 60th anniversary of the trolleys last year, and showcased his work at the Stanley Park trolley celebration. Bob came to the event, and encountered many transit enthusiasts who were so happy to meet him. I’m not certain he knew just how loved his Buzzer cartoons were, and it was wonderful to show him how much he mattered to everyone.
Ah, Bob Banks. I am glad to have met you, and I know you will be missed, sir!
A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday May 30, at 10 a.m. at the Boal Chapel, 1505 Lillooet Road in North Vancouver.
And to celebrate Bob’s memory, I have put together a selection of illustrations from the 1950s and 1960s. I hope you will enjoy them and remember Bob warmly too.