It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of John Huntley Brown, celebrated artist and illustrator, beloved husband and cherished father and grandfather. Huntley passed away peacefully on May 4th; 8 days short of his 90th birthday. Huntley is survived by his wife of 65 years Maureen Russell Brown, their four children, Rus, Sherry, Laura, and Kathleen, and his eight grandchildren: Huntley, Trish, Harrison, Kendra, Patrick, Hayley, Lily, and Archie.
Born and raised in Lethbridge, Alberta Huntley had a true gift and love for art that he honed over his lifetime. Nurtured by his father Dr. Thomas Erwin Brown, who painted as a hobby, Huntley knew he wanted to be an artist from the ripe age of 8 when he and two of his pals created comic books. He attended St. Patrick’s in Ottawa as a boarder and then went on to the Ontario College of Art, now known as OCAD. Huntley met Maureen at OCAD where they began what was to be an incredibly long and loving relationship that saw them through all the ups and downs of parenthood and a freelance artist’s career.
After graduating from the Ontario College of Art in 1955 with a Governor General’s Award, Huntley began his career as an illustrator drawing appliances for Simpson Sears and then joining Templeton’s studio, eventually launching a freelance career in the mid 60’s. In 1983, Huntley opened his own gallery filled with watercolours largely focusing on subject matter from day tripping over mid-Ontario. Huntley also shared his love of art through teaching Life Drawing and Illustration at OCAD for several decades, influencing and guiding hundreds of talented people including many of today’s most successful creative Canadian artists.
Huntley’s body of work is wide ranging and reflective of many historical events including the cover of MacLean’s Magazine documenting the financial fiasco of the 1976 Summer Olympics and the Moon Landing as portrayed in the Toronto Star. In addition to the editorial work his most sought-after commercial work was a poster for O’Keefe Breweries promoting the 1974 Canada Russia Hockey Summit featuring portraits of each of the players.
One of his family’s favourite series was The Pleasures of, published in Starweek magazine, where he illustrated the joys of everything from gardening to driving to running; illustrations and editorial that would be relevant even today. Huntley also lent his illustrative prowess to other different forms and formats, including Canadian Postage Stamps, the Regina Centennial Coin, and dozens of books with many famed Canadian authors such as Pierre Berton, Scott Young and Farley Mowat.
His many accomplishments and accolades included his election in 1978 to the Royal Canadian Academy of Artists by his peers in the Art Community, one of the few illustrators to be so honoured and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Association of Photographers & Illustrators in Communication (CAPIC) in 1997.
In Huntley’s retirement years he taught himself to paint in oil, continued his work in watercolours and happily painted his favourite subjects - family and friends. He and Maureen have resided in the Uxbridge area for the past two decades, where they enjoyed the pleasure of seeing their children and grandchildren numerous times a week. His close family was always the heart of his world and Huntley’s passing leaves all his family with a hole in their hearts.
“What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”
― Helen Keller
A private Mass for immediate family was held on May 7th, 2022. Should you wish to recognize Huntley’s passing please donate to OCAD University where The Huntley Brown Memorial Bursary has been established to assist students in financial need. https://www1.ocadu.ca/fundraising/#/ways-to-give/commemorative-giving