Ethan Minovitz, the self-proclaimed animation research guru of the Big Cartoon DataBase, passed away from natural causes at his home in Vancouver, British Columbia on Friday February 1st, 2013. His name should be familiar to anyone who follows this blog and the Big Cartoon Forum, and he was a voracious poster of news and trivia on both. His contributions to the site go much deeper than what the casual observer can notice, though. He was, in many ways, the heart and soul of BCDB.
Ethan was born in 1962 in his native British Columbia. He attend Eric Hamber High School and graduated in 1980. He competed on the school team for Reach For The Top National Finals, and his team won the competition. Mr. Minovitz was very active in his local Jewish Center.
Ethan is survived by his older sister Lise of New York, and his father, also in Vancouver. Ethan Minovitz’s funeral is planned for Wednesday, 2 PM at the Schara Tzedeck Cemetary at 2345 Marine Drive, New Westminster, BC V3M 6R8. Details on shiva services are to be arranged.
In December, 2009, he traveled with a group of volunteers to the Cuba-America Jewish Mission in Havana, where he worked with the group for two weeks. Ethan was also vocal with the Vancouver Jewish Folk Choir, singing in concerts whenever he could. Ethan’s Jewish heritage was very important to him, and his faith was strong.
He joined the BCDB about ten years ago, and it was immediately obvious that Ethan was at home in our group. He was an earnest and competent contributor, and it was not long until I asked him to be a moderator.
Ethan’s love of animation showed– he had tremendous knowledge on the subject. And what he did not know, he would research. That was one thing about Ethan, the man knew how to look something up. He soon became our resident expert on just about anything.
Ethan was always a calming force within BCDB, too. We have always been a fairly calm site, but there were occasions where tempers grew and egos grew larger. Ethan was the peacemaker, Ethan found a way to solve all the problems that came up.
Ethan always had a kind word for everyone. He was the first person to post a welcome message to anyone who joined our forums. I never asked him to, he just did. That is the kind of man Ethan was, and that is something I specifically admired about him.
A few years ago, we decided to start a news section of the forum. It is hard and a lot of work to publish 2 or 3 stories every day there. I know– I have tried. Ethan did it, every day, on his own and with no complaints. I did not even ask him, he just stepped up and did it. It is ironic now to think about, but one of Ethan’s passions was posting obituaries to the news section. We had a contest, he and I– who could get the big ones first. Ethan usually won.
But Ethan’s biggest contribution to BCDB is the one no one here ever saw. And this again gets back to his tag as Research Guru. Any day of the week, Ethan contributed numerous new cartoons for inclusion in the database. None of you ever saw this, because they went direct to me. Hundreds of Excel spread sheets a year. He formatted his finds in such a way it made it easy for me to slip them into the database. He would go on tears… sometimes Japanese, sometimes Russian, sometimes Czech. I would feel over burdened when getting them, and then I would think about all the work to find, sort and enter them into Excel. THAT would be overwhelming.… but that was what Ethan did behind the scenes. Ethan contributed at least 55,000 cartoons this way.
But most importantly, Ethan was my friend. We talked a lot. Sometimes about BCDB and what and where it was going. But often about other things. His trips to Israel were always a point of joy for him, and I loved listening to his stories. While we never met face-to-face, we knew each other very well. And I am proud to call him my friend.
As I sit here and miss my friend, I am also wanting to do something a little more permanent for him at BCDB. He was such an important part of getting us to where we are today, I want to make the BCDB a little more about him. I am not sure how I will accomplish this yet, but if you have any ideas, please let me know.
In the meantime, I can only wish my friend safe travels.