Editorial Cartoonist Rusins Kaufmanis has passed away.
Globe and Mail cartoonist 1960 – ????
Ottawa Citizen editorial cartoonist 1963 – 1989
He remained interested in politics, people, and especially humour to the very end. In his last week, when initially told by a doctor that they would be able to perform surgery on his broken hip, he looked up from his hospital bed with a wide-eyed and puzzled look and asked, “Are you sure that is a good use of taxpayers’ money?”.
A believer that all good things must come to an end, he passed away of his own wishes at the Royal Jubilee Hospital on September 20. When told that his request to die under the MAID program would be granted, he replied with his favourite refrain “Hallelujah”.
Rusins Kaufmanis survived war wounds, time in a prisoner of war camp and a battle with tuberculosis to emerge as a perceptive political artist with a gentle touch and an ability to render the most complex issues understandable. And funny.
He sold his first sketch to the Globe and Mail in 1960.
Rusins joined the Citizen in 1963, telling people jokingly that he was hired because of his “slightly brutal” method of portraying colourful former mayor Charlotte Whitton.
During his 26-year career, Rusins produced thousands of cartoons, mostly gentle lampoons of the powerful and the usual suspects in the nation’s capital, but he avoided the mean-spirited or declarative styles adopted by some contemporaries.
Upon his retirement, Kaufmanis told former Citizen columnist Dave Brown he was leaving to “make a vacancy for someone in need of work,” while he was going to step up his amateur field naturalist hobby and try to solve the puzzle as to “why there are no magpies in Eastern Canada.”
His family noted Kaufmanis never lost his sense of humour.