Ask Rufus: Columbus has lost a friend


A drawing of Temple Heights by Josh Meador that was given to the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library by Phil Meador.

A drawing of Temple Heights by Josh Meador that was given to the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library by Phil Meador. Photo by: Provided


Rufus Ward



Recently Columbus lost a very good friend. After a long fight with health problems, Philip Meador passed away in California. Phil was the son of Oscar winning Disney animator Josh Meador. Josh called Columbus home, and Phil recalled many enjoyable childhood trips to Columbus. Josh died in 1965. 


I first met Phil while working on Columbus'' Josh Meador celebration in 2009. He was a fascinating, kind-hearted person who was always ready for a good laugh. He seemed to really take to Columbus and he gave the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library four drawings of Columbus houses that his father had done. He also gave the library a paint box/easel with paints and brushes that Josh had used in the Disney television program "4 Artists Paint 1 Tree." In addition Phil loaned the library almost a hundred drawings and paintings by his father for an exhibit. 


During the celebration Phil presented a program at Mississippi University for Women where he told of growing up around the Disney Studio and his father''s experiences during the Golden Age of Disney animation. Stories such as the time his father had his mother sit on the floor so that he could draw her blowing soap bubbles. That scene became Cinderella scrubbing the floor and being surrounded by soap bubbles containing her reflection. 


Although Phil did not talk much about it, he had a very distinguished career of his own. He followed his father into the field of visual and special effects and worked for many years at Disney. A couple of years ago when the new Walt Disney museum was being established in San Francisco, the Disney family called on Phil to help set up an old Disney Studio multi-plane animation camera that would be on display.  


Phil''s movie credits are most impressive. During his career he was listed in the credits of 17 major films. 


They included: visual effects producer for "The Pagemaster," special photographic effects supervisor for "Splash," optical supervisor for "Millennium," photographic effects supervisor for "My Science Project," supervisor Disney Efx for "Return to Oz," special photographic effects for "Something Wicked This Way Comes," special photographic effects for "The Black Cauldron," and optical printer operator for "The Black Hole." 


Though not raised in Columbus, Phil enjoyed his visits here and his generosity will long be appreciated. He will be missed.


Rufus Ward is a Columbus native a local historian. E-mail your questions about local history to Rufus at [email protected]


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