Roy was a good friend and was a highlight of OPIRG’s Political Cartooning in Hamilton art show a few years back, as well as a contributor to PIRGSPECTIVES – a great story-teller, and a brilliant cartoonist who fought the good fight with his best weapon: humour.

He will be sadly missed,


Hamilton Spectator File Photo

Cartoonist ‘Roi’ championed underdog

ROY CARLESS 1920 – 2009

<!– PUBLISH DATE TimeSincePublished(“2009-01-06-07:28:23″,”2009-01-06″,”Jan. 06, 2009”);–>
The Hamilton Spectator
(Jan 6, 2009)

Roy Carless skewered the high and mighty in his editorial cartoons, blasting them for the way they treated the little guy — and by most recollections they loved it.

He has letters from three U.S. presidents — Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter — and from Pierre Trudeau, Tommy Douglas and Bill Davis thanking him for his cartoons.

And the day he retired after 34 years as an assembler at the Camco appliance plant, his bosses let him know he would be missed. Over the years, he drew many unflattering, shop floor humour cartoons about plant management. The bosses let him know that, rather than throwing them away, they had kept every one.

“He thought that was great,” recalled Hamilton Spectator cartoonist Graeme MacKay.

“He loved knowing whether his bosses or politicians got a chuckle out of his work.”

Carless, whose cartoons had appeared in The Spectator over the years, died suddenly Friday at his beloved Bold Street home. He was 88. His son Marc said it is believed he died of a heart attack.

The son of a Toronto area village police chief and a housewife, Carless had been drawing since he was a child, but started to sharpen his talent when he came to Hamilton in 1948 to work at the then Westinghouse plant on Longwood Road.

His shop floor cartoons posted around the plant got him into the union paper of the United Electrical Workers. In 1968, he branched into political drawings and that got him into numerous other trade union publications and even a calendar.

By day, he was a factory worker, helping put food on the table for his family and being an active union member. By night, he was a cartoonist, with the trademark signature Roi, drawing for publications in Canada and the United States.

He eventually became a member of the Association of Editorial Cartoonists and his cartoons are now in the National Archives in Ottawa and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

He also published a book of his cartoons and had various local shows of his work.

Carless’s son Marc and granddaughter Shannon Morgan both said he was an advocate for the underdog, read five newspapers a day and had a great sense of humour. He drew cartoons right to the end.

“He was somebody I looked up to and respected,” said Marc, who works for John Deere in Grimsby. “His ability to express himself through cartoons was always amazing to me.”

Morgan was taken in by Carless and his wife Audrey after her mother and their daughter, Cindy, died of leukemia in 1987. Morgan was 11.

“Everything he did was on trying to get a message out,” said Morgan.

“He wanted people to start thinking and pay attention to their community and the world around them.”

Carless is survived by his wife, son and four other grandchildren. His body has been donated to medical science, as he wished.

A memorial is set for Jan. 17 at the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre, 51 Stuart St. It will begin at 1 p.m.