Sunday, July 18, 2010

R.I. P Pres Romanillos




Pres Romanillos lost his battle with cancer yesterday and today we all mourn the loss of our friend, mentor, and amazing soul that touched the lives of everyone he met.

When I first went to work in Orlando on Mulan, I didn't know that many people, and Pres was one of the first people to make me feel welcome. The day I met him was the day my uncle had killed himself and I literally had only been in the studio one day. I was walking around the hallway in a daze when Pres came up to me like we had been best friends forever, and gave me words of comfort and strength. Then as the summer went on, we hung out during rainstorms on the patio for midday breaks and talked about life, work and he was just always inspiring me to be a better artist and person. He was a supervising animator at the time and I was a nobody, a newbie who had not even completed a year with Disney and only one film, but that didn't matter to him. He saw everyone as equal and treated us that way.

A couple years later I left Disney and went to DreamWorks and Pres was there and once again, he welcomed me with open arms. My first few months there were really hard emotionally and Pres really helped me feel at home, in fact he changed my experience there. He also gave me work on his character for Spirit off and on during El Dorado (which is what I was staffed on) and later on recommended me for character design jobs and pushed me beyond what I thought I could do. He helped me become a better artist.

As well, Pres and his wife rescued many lost animals and helped them find homes. I remember one time sneezing due to a cat allergy and when I went to see where these cats were, Pres' office door was open and he had a box of rescue kitties there. It warmed my heart to see someone so caring.

I think along your path you meet people that may or may not enter into your close circle of friends, and some of them move on without making an impact, but Pres was not that type in my life. We were never BFFs and I hadn't seen him in a long time, but he definitely was one of the best people I ever knew. His kindness and generosity were enormous and I believe he made a difference in the lives of many.

Last year when he was working on Frog, he found me, or I found him on some social networking site, I can't remember, and we talked about meeting for lunch, but we never did. I didn't even know he was sick until this year. He wasn't the type to talk about himself and be a downer like that. He was a believer in 'all things possible' and living every day happy. My heart broke when I heard he was sick and even though I am desperately afraid of needles I rushed over to try to donate platelets because I knew that Pres would have done it for any of us, or anyone. I wasn't able to because my iron and some other levels were too low, so in the end I couldn't help him, but I will definitely do my best to help others in his memory.

The world is a sadder and darker place with the loss of this beautiful spirit.

*Adding to the original post here* Today I have been reading everyone's kind words about Pres, and I think we are all in shock, like it isn't real. We really lost an amazing person. I was working and watching Glee, and when they sang this song it made me think of Pres, because the Pres I remember was always smiling.

I dedicate to you Pres and your journey to the other side.

Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You’ll get by…

If you smile
With your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just…

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just…

Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
You’ll get by…

If you smile
Through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile…

That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile





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