“My father Bob Drebelbis, who many of you knew as Dreb passed today at 94,” wrote daughter Candi Garrison in a November 16 email. “His years with you as your Secretary Treasurer were always precious to him. He drew cartoons at his home in the Air Force Village until he went into the hospital just last week. Always a cartoonist to the end.”
Cartooning was actually Col. Robert “Dreb” Drebelbis’s third career, after working as a variety store merchant for the SS Kresge Co., and serving as pilot in both WWII and the Korean War. He was commissioned as a Officer in the USAF and retired in 1973.
Dreb later became a cartoonist for the Harrison Daily Times in Harrison, Ark., drawing throughout the ’70s and ’80s. He was a long-time member of the AAEC and Secretary-Treasurer from 1981 to 1984.
In fact, it was Drebelbis who famously —and literally — threw Doug Marlette out of the 1982 San Francisco convention for being behind on dues and trying to charge his room to the AAEC.
R.C. Harvey recalled “When he was confronted by [Dreb], who attempted to advise him of his error, Marlette brushed him off. The gentleman in question took umbrage at this and grabbed Marlette by the collar and marched him away; [Marlette] never came back...”
Drebelbis is survived by three children, and seven grandchildren.
"This is a sad day, indeed," wrote Clay Bennett in a note on the AAEC-L.
"I worked with Don Addis for thirteen years at the St. Petersburg Times. Both of us being cartoonists, our relationship was both collegial and competitive... with an emphasis placed on 'competitive'.
"We were never close friends, but we shared a passion for cartooning and an impatience with stupidity. So, although we may not have been bosom buddies, we were definitely kindred spirits.
"Having a second editorial cartoonist at the newspaper always kept me on my toes. Being published across the page from Don, I always felt like we were being compared directly, that we were in a daily cartooning competition. Some days, it went my way, other days it went his, but every single day it kept me working as hard as I could to sway the outcome of the contest.
"Even though we had dramatically different drawing styles, different approaches to our craft, and a different tone to our work, Don played an instrumental role in my development as a cartoonist. Not only did he have me constantly hustling to keep up with him, but also showed me, through example, how the same end could be achieved through drastically different means.
"I left the St. Pete Times over 15 years ago, but I still see glimmers of Don Addis appearing in my own work from time to time. Don both broadened my creative horizons as a cartoonist, and helped to inspire a work ethic that still has my wife complaining that I get home too late each night.
"I wouldn't be the cartoonist I am today had I not worked with, and competed against Don Addis. He was a cartoonist I admired, and a man the world will miss."
For the St. Pete obit of Don Addis, click here: http://www.tampabay.com/news/obituaries/former-times-cartoonist-don-addis-dies/1055351