Trevor Franklin Sellars, my business partner (and sometime fishing buddy) for 15 years, passed away yesterday. It is hard to imagine a world without him. His was a big presence — he took up space, made noise, was active, got people organized, moved ideas forward. Twenty years ago, when he was at Queen’s Printer, Margriet and I had coffee with him at the No-Pop Shop and he shared one of those big ideas with us. A few years later, having left QP, he came back and said, “Hey, remember that big idea? You want to see if we can make it work?”

Together, the three of us set about turning a graphic design shop into a full-featured advertising agency. Along the way, we built an office, acquired knowledgeable staff, learned new skills and developed relationships with new clients. Trevor’s big idea was this: what our clients had been buying from us was graphic design, but what they really needed was help with communications. It changed much about how we worked and how we enjoyed the work. And it paved the way to our final iteration as a brand communications agency.

Early in our partnership, there were those who questioned how we could partner with “a guy like Trevor.” They understood —rightly— that we were very different kinds of people, very different personalities. What they didn’t know was that we shared fundamental values about business ethics, about our families, our community, our responsibilities and our place in this corner of the world.

There are two things I will miss most about Trevor. One is that, when things were not going well, when prospects appeared to be dismal, Trevor had the uncanny ability to show me that, really, the good times were just around the bend, that we could do whatever we wanted to: we were the authors of our own successes and satisfactions. Then he’d back it up with a flurry of activity focused on addressing the issue at hand. Trevor could buck me up when I need it, like no one else could.

The other thing I’ll miss is Trevor’s annual spring trout fishing trip to Haines. For one week every April, Trevor showed me how he could be just a friend, a fishing buddy, rather than a formal business partner. He re-acquainted me with my love for fishing and provided a model for how men could spend time with men in honourable pursuit of the noble trout.

Trevor may have “…slipped the surly bonds of Earth” but his presence will not be far from me, every time I write some new communications strategy, or roam around the office, or interview new staff, or stand in the river.

Here’s to you, partner; you’ve made a difference in my life, one that will not be forgotten. 

Me, Margriet and Trevor standing in our new office space under construction, 1996.

 

38 comments




by Doug Brown

I am just gutted to hear this. My sympathies to you all. Trevor was a true gentleman and an exemplary practitioner of our craft.

09.27.2012

by Bill and Rolean

So sorry to hear of his passing, you have lots of memories to keep his presence alive! Even though we never met him, you talked of him to us and we could tell how much he meant to you both and to the company!

09.27.2012

by Pascale Black

I met Trevor in the frigid winter of 1996; I had just arrived to the Yukon.  At the time he was doing some consulting work for a local print business. He interviewed and hired me. He wasn’t my boss so I wasn’t scared of him and to his dismay I enjoyed teasing him. I don’t think he was used to that after being the big cheese at QP. A couple of years later for the measly price of lunch :-) he helped me fine tune my résumé which led me to my job at QP. In the last 16 years I’ve received his advice and expertise many times, even when I didn’t want it.  I’ll always be thankful for his help and I truly will miss him.

09.27.2012

by Bernie Phillips

I met Trevor close to thirty years ago. He was a terrific guy who allways had a smile when you met him. We shared a lot of common views and never missed the chance to share a moment or tell a joke when we bumped into each other around town. Deepest condolances to his family.

09.27.2012

by Rob Fairhead

Trevor and I had many spirited discussions on marketing tourism in the Yukon, how we could work better together and about family and friends. My sympathies to his, and the Aasman, family. He will be missed.

09.27.2012

by Eleanor

Thank you for sharing these stories! I’ve only known Trevor for the four years I’ve worked at aasman, but it’s a tight knit company and his absence is really sad. He taught me a lot and has left much to aspire too.

09.27.2012

by Mark Rutledge

Trevor you will be sadly missed by those lives you have touched. Your wealth of knowledge and business accumen was truly inspirational. The Rutledge family will forever be grateful for your unwavering kindness and generosity.

09.27.2012

by Janet Patterson

Journey well Trevor. My thoughts and prayers are with your colleagues, friends and family.

09.27.2012

by Debbie Peters

At a loss for words.  Thoughts and prayers for all of you and for Trevor’s family.  Loved his joy and zest for life.  Always enjoyed the chats and encouragements when I’d stop in the office.

09.27.2012

by Elaine Schiman

I am so very very sad to hear this news. I only heard recently that he was ill and was hoping that he would rally. I worked together with Trevor as one of his clients while I was at Northwestel and later did some sub-contracting with ADI, working with Trevor and Al and Margriet. All three are such marvellous creative human beings and wonderful business people. I’m so sad for everyone that Trevor is gone, especially his family and close friends. He was a wonderful guy and I will always remember his wonderful sense of humour and the twinkle in his eye.

09.27.2012

by Dave Roddick

I worked for Trevor as a copywriter, with his partners Mike, Dan, and artist Terry, at Tundra Graphics in 1980-81. I had just arrived from Ontario and knew little about the Yukon. Trevor, with his big presence, filled in all the gaps and then some! I immediately was conscripted to writing “goldrush” copy for the placer miner association. Just as a slave comes to understand he is the most freest of all people in his bondage, Trevor provided a ‘safe’ place for creative expression. As Tundra graphics, he challenged the previaling status quo Yukon tourism “Goldrush” theme bids by championing a Yukon “Wilderness” one. Later, he won the Yukon Government’s Wordmark contract, modernizing the Yukon logo and making the “Goldrush” the defining feature of the government’s public image. In articulating this bias, Trevor helped create a new public space for other, suppressed cultural expressions to thrive, in particular ideas about Yukon wilderness and indigeniety. Trevor helped shape and articulate the spirit of what is meant by “the Yukon” today, making it a bigger, better and more welcoming place. Trevor was a great teacher. Yutatu ?w! Old friend! Going home!

09.28.2012

by Cathy Routledge

Oh, this is sad news. My first contact withTrevor was in my capacity of Executive Director of Hospice Yukon.  We knew we wanted and needed a cohesive visual/media presence and someone told me he was the guy to call.  So I did.

He was immediately intrigued with the idea of using communication and a brand identity to bring people towards something they would really rather not consider - their own death and that of their loved ones.

He, Margriet and Al were hugely generous with their time, wisdom and patience as they led us through a very valuable branding exercise for far too little money.  They were a lovely group of people to work with and we were all a little sad when our project ended and we didn’t have a business reason to chat with them anymore.

Trevor called me up on a sunny July day this past summer, asking what I thought of the idea of Aasman looking at a project involving the government’s decision to take the penny out of circulation.  He was thinking how non-profits could benefit and Hospice had come to mind.

Of course, I told him it was a brilliant idea and we’d be delighted to work with them again.  We chatted about this and that for awhile and after I hung up, I recall thinking “What a good guy!” 

He truly was a good guy. Go well Trevor.

09.28.2012

by Neil Graham

Trevor always had a big smile and a hello for me whenever I came into the office, even though my business was usually of a personal nature.  I will miss his large precense.  Rest in Peace, Trevor

09.28.2012

by Douma Alwarid

Trevor saw a spark in me, even when no one else could see it, he saw it. And he pushed me to be a better person, to aspire to do ‘BIG THNGS’. He is gone but not forgotten. Rest in peace, Mr.T.

09.28.2012

by debbie trudeau

oh Al, what a perfect way to describe Trevor. He certainly was a presence and will be missed. My sympathies to all.

09.28.2012

by Claire Festel

Al, thanks so much for sharing this very sad news about Trevor. You certainly captured his spirit, legacy and character in words. He really did make a difference and once he had an idea, he took it as far as he could or it would go. I learned a lot about myself and life around Trevor; he was so adamant about everything that he really challenged me and shook me up. Ultimately - that is a very good thing! Bon voyage Trevor.

09.28.2012

by Roch Shannon Fraser

I was so sad to hear of Trevor’s passing..Our girls grew up together, and as a father, he was always present it seemed whenever there was something going on that involved a parent. He was a funny guy..and as you’ve read, loved to fish. He would always stop on his way to work in the morning to let me know how fishing either was or was going to be in Haines. And if you did run into him at Haines, you were guaranteed a smile. He was a great guy. My heartfelt condolences to his family and to his partners..Good fishing my friend..

09.28.2012

by Andy Hume

I have a lot of memories of Trevor, as a friend, fishing buddy and business associate.  My most special memory is Trevor and I standing together on a sliver of of sandy soil jutting into Lewes Lake.  It was one of those beautiful later summer Yukon nights. 

It had been a long day at work for both us so we packed up our rods and headed to the lake to catch a few grayling.

Trevor had the magic touch that night.  My results were dismal.  Cast after cast, Trevor was bringing in another fighting grayling.  I was producing nothing, while enduring Trevor’s chortles of delight.

“It’s all about the rod tip Hume - it’s all about the rod tip,” I remember him saying.  We tried trading places.  We tried trading rods and lures.  For me, nothing worked.  For Trevor, it was ‘all fish all the time’. 

Taking pity on my look of defeat, Trevor put his big arm around my shoulder and said: “It’s nothing a good scotch between friends can’t fix.”

One of Trevor’s oldest friends, Mike Lane, wrote to me in an email recently that he hoped Trevor has found “That pothole lake where every cast is a catch.”  When I close my eyes, I can see Trevor now standing on that finger of land at Lewes Lake - back to one of his old fishing holes, where on that day, ‘every cast was a catch’.

It’s all about the rod tip Trev - keep it high. May your journey take you to a peaceful place. I’ll miss ya buddy.

09.29.2012

by Dan van Stolk

I first met Trevor when he and Mike Lane rumbled into Yellowknife on a warm summer day in 1977. I say rumbled, because they were driving Mikes old Hillman, the muffler had a big hole in it and whenever you gave a touch to the gas pedal it rumbled .The sound was outrageous, provocative and beautiful all at the same time.  Mike and Trevor joined me working at the News of the North, one of the Knife’s two newspapers.  We spent a lot of time together, at work and at play, and eventually formed a company called Tundra Silkscreens.  As a former business partner, I can attest to the Trevor’s fearlessness to tackle anything.  He showed me the value of thinking big, and that it was perfectly OK to tackle something with only your wits as back up.  From the first day I met him and as long as I knew him, he stayed on form - outrageous, provocative and beautiful. I will miss him.

09.30.2012

by Heather McFarlane

I met Trevor when he was running Tundra Graphics.  His designs were first class, very sophisticated.  I own a framed copy of “S S Klondike, Calendar 1982”, and am proud to have it on my wall.

I am very sorry to hear of his passing.

09.30.2012

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