YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Late local artist Chris Yambar had a memorial celebration Saturday afternoon at the Soap Gallery in Youngstown.
Yambar’s friends and family gathered to remember and honor his legacy as a cartoon artist whose work has been seen across the country. He worked on comic strips like The Simpsons, Popeye, Mr. Magoo and his most popular strip, Mr. Beat.
“He pretty much planned it all over the years,” said his wife Maureen Yambar.
Chris Yambar had the idea for how he wanted his life remembered. Instead of a sad funeral, he wanted to celebrate his life.
His art was on display for all to see as they listened to some of his favorite music. It happened to be on the day before his birthday.
“He said ‘I do not want tears. I do not want any sadness. I want it to be a happy time, and I want people to buy stuff,'” Maureen Yambar said.
There was a silent auction for his work. Other Chris-related merchandise was for sale. Proceeds from his art sales will go to a scholarship in his name.
“It gave them something to look forward to. It gave them a little chuckle. It gave them a little encouragement,” said Chris’s sister Katie Davis.
In addition to being a cartoonist, Yambar was also a police chaplain for seven years. Friends and family shared fond memories about his life.
“Chris was an encourager. He would always encourage people to do better in whatever it was they were doing, whether they were a musician, artist, a writer,” said Chris’s agent Deb Cattoi.
“He was very much a family man, a loving man, such a great sense of humor… when you knew Chris and everything, you had a friend for life,” said Chris’s close friend Sean Dougherty.
“I really appreciated how sensitive he was to people and how he would be the fun guy. But, on the inside, he was always thinking. He was always intellectual,” Maureen Yambar said.
The Soap Gallery is showing Yambar’s art for the rest of July.