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Draplin Design Co., North America


We wrote this a couple days after Dad passed…

How do you pack the beautiful, funny, wild, caring, compassionate, creative, loud, loving, laughing, happy life of James Patrick Draplin into this little space? It doesn’t do the man justice. Our dad is bigger than this little screen in so many ways.

James Patrick Draplin came into this world on February 1, 1943 and made a first-class exit on October the 13, 2013. Son to Joseph and Josephine; Brother to Robert (Christine, dec.) and Thomas (Barbara). Husband of 43 years to our beautiful mom, Lauren. Dad to Aaron, Sarah, Emily (dec.) and Leah. Uncle to many. Honorary dad to Pat, Mary, Mike, Terry, Kevin, Melodie, Christine, Leigh and Jacob. Honorary grandpa to Jordan, Shelby and Jake. The proud, beaming Papa to the light of his life, our little Oliver James.

Friend to EVERYONE. You, too.

Jim sold tools for a living, played Santa for kids, schools, companies and hospice to the point where he reached the upper echelon and played the downtown Traverse City gig, junked the finest of second hand stores, cut his “killer pizza” with gigantic scissors, rooted for the ’Wings, Wolverines, Tigers and even the Lions, built wooden toys for children, shared an EXTENSIVE catalog of jokes, gave out free beer chips at the Cedar Polka Fest, loved his old cars, always had a hundred beers in the ’fridge, abused “senior coffee” discounts for the last thirty years, gave wrong directions to Fudgies at the Cherry Festival, foraged for Petoskey stones, never quite figured out his damn cellphone, decorated elaborate wedding cakes, built beautiful “stuff birdhouses,” displayed masterful “Moby Kowalski” diving techniques, mooned friends and family often, had a beautiful wit, slathered wood glue on everything, grabbed enough mints to fill his pocket, held and kissed all the babies, could bullshit with the best of them, knew how to ferret out a good deal, donated to those in need, traveled with and to see his children, collected a little bit of everything and hated paying for taxes, parking, gas and ice.

Jim will be missed by everyone. Please join us in celebrating his life. Memorial services will be held Saturday, October 26, at 11 a.m., at St. Francis Church in Traverse City, where the family will receive friends for one hour prior. Additional laughs and memories can be shared starting at 1pm at the Traverse City VFW Hall on Veteran’s Drive.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Oliver James Ashley College Savings Account at any Chase bank.

Leave a comment, memory or retelling of a joke Dad told at jimdraplin.com.

There Are 17 Comments

what a beautiful obit for a man who was clearly, dearly loved. rest in peace.

Posted by: hahna kang on 11/12/13 at 9:24 PM

I’m really sorry for your loss. I just read this again and it makes me want to be remembered by my kid and her friends the way your dad’s remembered by you and your friends.

Posted by: Steve West on 11/13/13 at 7:06 AM

Aaron, I started following you on Instagram a few days before your dad passed. I knew your name, knew your work. As a fellow creative I enjoyed the behind the scenes look at your life, including pics of you and your dad (my father is also a pretty neat guy with a proclivity for beards). I watched with bated breath as the scene unfolded. It was sad, man. Really sorry to hear about it. Sounds like he lived an amazing life, in fact I’m writing because I’m determined to leave a similar legacy (I’ve got a ways to go). Super happy for you guys to have been as close as you appear to in all the photos. Wishing you all the best this holiday season, I know it can’t be easy. Next time you swing through Detroit I’ll come and introduce myself personally. In the mean time, I’ve got a lot of living to do to catch up. Thanks for sharing your work and your dad.

Posted by: Shawn on 12/09/13 at 8:01 PM

We were all devastated to hear of your father’s death — so close to meeting him and enjoying his wonderful and friendly personality. I have a card signed by the History of Graphic Design students, who you spoke to — many of them admire you and want to be like you — and I would like to send it to you. They were very shocked and sad to hear of the death, since you had spoken so elequently about him to them.
Please email me an address, and give my sincere condolences to your mom and your family.
I am so very sorry, my friend!

Posted by: Frenchy Lunning on 12/16/13 at 11:41 AM

I forgot to tell you how much I love this obituary. And as I read it, I stopped dead in my tracks again‚€”like I did first time I read it‚€” your Dad died on the same day as my Dad’s birthday. My Dad would have been 78-years-old if he were still kickin’. Don’t post this by the way- upon review. Looking forward to the Two Rivers gig!

Posted by: Eric "CockWhizz" Campbell on 06/21/14 at 8:12 PM

Hello Aaron.
I stumbled upon your website as a creative professional from the other side of the globe, because I think your job is impressive. Then I stopped by this part of the website, about your Dad. And I wanted to say you were lucky having Him, and He was very luck having a son like You. This piece of website fills the internet with much more humanity, love and emotion better than any other thing I’ve ever seen before.

Best of luck with everything



Posted by: Pietro Mingotti on 12/16/14 at 9:07 AM

We might never meet in our lives Aaron, but I just wanted to tell you that you’re not only an amazing artist but also a beautiful human being. Love from India.


Posted by: Abhijeet Sokratus on 12/23/14 at 9:22 PM

I just watched the Adobe video about you junking for logo ideas. Really liked it. I am an aspiring Instructional Designer.
Also teared up seeing the photos of your dad, reading his Obituary, seeing the photos of little Gary and of your family. Very special. Thank you for sharing with us and thanks for being sentimental.

Posted by: MLS on 02/11/15 at 9:39 PM

Just wanted to tell you I missed your lecture in Akron. My friend Patrick met you and said it was a pleasure and a amazing experience. ‚€“¬†but most importantly I read this about your Dad‚€¶ Amazing words, but for some reason they won’t ever be enough to explain the appreciation‚€¶ But I can tell you this, it has made me think very hard about my relationship with my Dad‚€¶ Props to you Drape!‚€¶Thank you

Posted by: George on 02/13/15 at 7:37 AM

Aaron, I was just on your site looking to order some Field Notes when I decided to look through the whole site. Looking at the pictures of your dad and reading the obituary still breaks my heart. I loved you Dad and will always treasure my time with all of you.

Posted by: Jim Carpenter on 07/06/15 at 11:41 AM

Your dad seems like he was a real cool guy.

Posted by: Cory Benson on 08/04/15 at 9:58 AM

Dads are the best.

Posted by: John Becker on 08/06/15 at 5:37 AM

You talking about your dad on WTF today made me lose it a bit on the way home. I had no idea who you were til today. Now, I’ll never forget you or your dad. Cool stuff.

Hello from Grosse Ile, MI.

Posted by: Dean Massalsky on 10/26/15 at 9:24 PM


I found your sight through my Graphic Design I class. Prof. gave us a link to you designing an All Base logo in 15 minutes. I was draw into your website to learn more and saw those pictures of your dad.

I didn’t know him, but the pictures give me a great idea that he was caring, loving, lovable, huggable, happy, wonderful and just darn great. I miss him for you. A terrible loss.

Posted by: Corey on 01/20/16 at 4:57 PM

Dad seemed like a good man. Sad to see such a bright light go.

Posted by: Jamison Hatchell on 01/11/17 at 6:10 AM

sad stuff.

Posted by: carlos on 04/07/17 at 12:52 PM

Reading this during interview research and am now very much hoping I meet this guy someday. Photos contained herein make me feel, however, like it might be a reunion rather than an introduction.

Posted by: Al Ross on 04/30/17 at 11:15 AM
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