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Tribute to Craig Blower: Our Shooting Star

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Written by: Ed Capelle
Date: March 24, 2016

Industry and colleagues pay tribute to Craig Blower, COO of Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, on his recent passing.

  

Category: Stories

We see them in our night sky, streaking across the blackness in a dynamic display of light. They appear for a moment, and we are mesmerized by them, transfixed upon their bold display.

Craig Blower, in some ways was like that shooting star, living a dynamic life that streaked across our routine lives, touching each of us with joy and endless optimism. He was active in volunteering through the Rady Children's Hospital, Breath of Hope and Rotary. He continuously gave of himself, and even in the face of his battle with lung cancer, his boundless humor and energy, instilled in us a sense of hope.

Craig came to the Fleet in the spring of 1999, from Express Computer Supply, where he served as the general manager of three offices with 70 employees and annual revenues of $60 million. Before that, he served as vice president of operations for Beta Corporation in the San Diego area. He graduated with honors from University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a past president of the Computer and Electronics Marketing Association (CEMA).

In the giant screen world, perhaps the person that knew him best, was Jeff Kirsch. He had this to share about Craig.

Craig Blower was not only a superb Museum Executive; he was the finest person I have ever worked with and a true friend. He worked tirelessly, both at The Fleet and other not for profits in the Community, for the betterment of all San Diegans. It pains me to think that he is no longer with us, but I am comforted to know that Craig will be forever remembered for his goodness by all he touched.

- Jeffrey W. Kirsch, Executive Director Emeritus, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

We could have filled a book with heartfelt sentiments from friends and colleagues. Here are just a select few.

I first met Craig around the time I entered the industry in 2000. I was very young and brand new to giant screen, but Craig treated me with respect from day one. I did not immediately catch his humorous side, but did notice how hard he worked and how good he was at what he did. Over the years, our relationship evolved and he was always one of my favorite people to deal with on the theater side. I will never forget his constant refrain, "Butts in Seats!" His warm smile, and his unfailing zest for life (even in his final months and days) were and will always be a reminder to me of the attitude we ought to have in our lives.

- Mark Kresser, President, K2 Communications

What a terrible loss. Craig was one of the rare ones whom you just couldn't help but really like - despite his good looks, athleticism, charm, smarts, wit and winning smile. In his role as the key contact at RH Fleet, he was unfailingly gracious, straightforward and supportive of those of us who are foolish enough to produce and distribute films in this market. One only has to read the extraordinary blog that he wrote during his journey through cancer treatment to feel the openness, warmth and humour of this wonderful man. We will all miss him very much.

- Jonathan Barker, CEO, SK Films Inc.

Craig was an integral member of the GSCA and to the Giant Screen industry as a whole. He had a tireless energy and was dedicated to the craft of education and entertainment in our format. His constant positive attitude brought a genuine sense of optimism to association events, and his sense of humor kept us constantly asking him to participate in panels and discussions. His Business As Usual, Day at a Time attitude will continue as a constant reminder to GSCA's staff and members to always look to the bright side. We will miss Craig tremendously.

- Tammy Seldon, Giant Screen Cinema Association

Craig Blower is an inspiration -- and I say "is" not "was" on purpose. His willingness and ability to lend a hand to people in need, his humor, and his talent still resonate today and will be around for a long time.

It is way too early to lose Craig. I think there must have been a clerical error in heaven. Craig dedicated so much of his time and spirit to helping sick children: hospital visits, summer camps, fund raising. It just doesn't make any sense that Craig should leave us now. When you spent time with him and his wife Kim, your cheeks hurt from laughing and smiling so much. I have very muscular cheek muscles now.

I met Craig in September 2001 at the Chicago GSTA. He was a late arrival to an informal gathering at the bar and he was so hungry he accepted our offer to share some of the appetizers we had ordered. I made of fun of him for doing that all night. But the joke was on me because, as a result, I had to continue the tradition of buying his meal every time we were together from that date on. For the next 15 years. Whether it was a nice restaurant in Mission Beach or an Arby's at a truck stop in Virginia.

Craig wrote the most incredible family Christmas letters. Every year, he would pick a theme and tell the story of his family using hundreds of puns related to the theme. All, the most warm spirited and heartwarming way. That tradition became the foundation for his "get fuzzy" blogs over the past 3 years.

Craig brings out the best in everyone and he will for a long long time.

- Mike Lutz, IMAX Corporation

How often have we heard, 'last but not least?' But in this instance, Craig has set the bar so high, that I do feel that I fall into the 'least' category. I have known Craig since he entered our business in 1999. No matter how full his plate was, Craig would always take time for a friend. And, with Craig, we were not just colleagues, we were his friends. His smile was contagious. He would make you feel like all was right in the world, with one grin! I feel honored to have known Craig and to have been his friend.

- Ed Capelle, Senior Vice President, Distribution, K2 Communications

Craig had touched us all (yes...I know if he was reading this, he would insert a joke here). He was a person of great courage and unquenchable optimism. He provides us with a roadmap for how we should strive to live our lives...smile, laugh, give more than you take, and leave the world better than you found it. He was (and is) a person that inspires us to be better. At the next GSCA conference, there will be many clinks heard in the bar, as we toast the fond memories of our good friend. Craig...we miss you.

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