Keith Branscombe

Obituary of Keith Branscombe

BRANSCOMBE, KEITH On Friday, March 5, 2021, the world lost some of its luster. Keith Branscombe died in Toronto from complications following surgery for cancer at the age of 82. He leaves his loving wife, Suzanne Gerweck, their daughter, Caslon Branscombe (Nick Holm), and his daughter, Sarah Branscombe (Steve Schmit), and granddaughter, Chloë Schmit.

Born in Kelvington, Saskatchewan, he is the second eldest of five siblings. Survived by sisters, Verna Bailey (nee Branscombe), Coreen Zubersky (nee Branscombe), and brother, Wallace Branscombe. His prairie roots kept him grounded as his artistic drive took him on an amazing career as a graphic artist spanning over 65 years. Keith's career started by talking his way into the Vancouver School of Art, (Emily Carr College), which he attended from 1955-1959. He attended The Royal College of Art in London at the School of Graphic Design from 1959-1961. While at RCA, he was honoured with the title Royal Scholar– an award given to first-year students for exceptional work. That year was unusual as two students won the other was David Hockney.

He got his start as a graphic designer at Queen Magazine in swinging London in the early sixties. Next, he worked as an Art Director at The Delpierre ad agency in Paris. He was an Art Director at several ad agencies back home in Toronto and Vancouver.

Later, he worked as a consultant for Thompson Newspapers and redesigned some of their newspapers. He was an Art Director at several magazines, including Canadian Home and Chatelaine. Keith worked under the infamous, Doris Anderson, who spearheaded Chatelaine's new "feminist" direction.

From the 1970s to the 1990s, Keith worked at The Toronto Star, where he held many roles, including Assistant Managing Editor of Graphics. He received many awards acknowledging his talent throughout his career, but he remained very modest about them. He always let his work speak for itself. After leaving the Star, he continued as a freelance graphic designer. He never really retired. He worked on his visual memoirs releasing three volumes before he died.

He wasn't one for jewelry but always sported his trusty Nikon around his neck. His curious nature led him to photograph many un-expecting subjects, including his family. An artist and photographer, he was also a typophile. He could identify any typeface and use his excellent calligraphy skills to free-hand its match.

Keith loved his friends and family, showing them he cared with custom designed cards celebrating their birthdays and other auspicious occasions. His coveted cards often featured his beautiful photography and always included a joke and a spelling error– making it a "Keith Original".

He will be missed greatly by his family and friends. In lieu of flowers or other gifts, a fund has been created at the Northumberland United Way. Please select "In Memory of Keith Branscombe" His family will host a celebration of life ceremony in his honour when it is safe to do so. For further information and updates on the celebration of life please visit his Facebook profile:


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