We’ll miss you. 1955-2011

His presence lives on.

On Saturday, March 19th, just two days after both of our birthdays and after a lengthy illness, our much-beloved Creative Director Terry Kuzina passed away.

Terry was a very big part of this company…the guy whose idea it was to start Fusion, the one who came up with the name itself and the one who helped early on to push critical guiding principles that helped us grow so fast and become so effective.

Terry and Derrick Coupland were my equal business partners until 2003. I purchased their interests after eleven years of high-speed and turbulent growth together to allow Terry to ponder a form of limited retirement and to allow Derrick to start his own brand-focused strategy company. Any notion of retirement lasted just three months and Terry was back in the saddle as 4-day a week Creative Director.

It has been said to me over and over again that Terry was one of the greatest graphic designers in Winnipeg. He mentored a great many of them as both students or employees. He was looked up to and was such a tremendous asset to have at Fusion.

I think, though, that what I learned most from Terry was not about creativity or about design, but was about life. He had a special outlook on life that was contagious and early on he tried to instil in me a better sense of balancing work with life. It took years to sink in, but I owe it to him for the framework in which to place both work and life and enjoy them both. Others owe it to him for ice cream breaks at work and the absent killer burn-out hours so typical of our industry.

After he left my partnership, he became a much closer friend. He was the perfect second brain on any of the major issues that I was dealing with. A former partner, if you can manage a smooth exit (ours was impeccable), is an extremely valuable person to bounce ideas off of. We became closer on discussions of life too and shared some good times at our cottages, which were one road apart (I loved his so got my own nearby!).

Terry’s special passion over the last years had been The Canadian Museum for Human Rights. This project thrilled him and he is the creator of much of the initial branding and fundraising materials for the raising of almost $300 million. The special star lapel pins that are so prominent among Museum supporters, and were worn by celebrities and politicians throughout Canada and the world, were designed by Terry. I will always think of him when I look at that gorgeous new museum at the Forks.

We at Fusion wish Theresa, Debbie and Vanessa and Terry’s extended family and many friends all our love and support. His presence will live on forever in all of us. His memorial service was Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 1:30 pm at St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church.