George Robert Artley ( Bob Artley) husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, author cartoonist, illustrator and commercial artist passed away at his home in Akron, Ohio on Friday, October 21, 2011. He was 94 years old.
Bob, the first born of George Denison Artley and Elsie Louise (Crow) Artley was born on the family farm 5 miles west of Hampton, IA on July 1st 1917.
Bob has been a commercial artist, cartoonist, writer and in the last thirty years has published over 14 books, all but one dealing with issues on the farm, most of them concentrated on the first half of the 20th century. One book " Ginny, A Love Remembered" focused on the life and subsequent death of his first wife, from Alzheimer's Disease. He was probably best know for his editorial cartoons at the Des Moines Tribune, and Worthington Globe, and for his feature panel, "Memories of a Former Kid" many of which still appear in publications throughout the United States.
Bob attended country school in and around the Hampton area through the 1920's. After passing his eighth grade country school exams, he went on to Hampton High School where he graduated in 1935. During High School, Bob took a special interest in art, and particularly in editorial cartooning. His cartoons were featured in high school and local publications, which led to his being mentored by the great J.N. "Ding" Darling.
After high school, he continued his education at Grinell College. He was inducted into the U.S. Army at the beginning of America's entry into WWII. He served in the medical corps as a laboratory Technician, and was being trained to be part of the invasion force when the war ended. While in the Army in 1943, he met and married fellow lab technician and WAAC Virginia E. Moore, of Southfork ,PA.
Bob returned to civilian life in 1946 and returned to the farm of his childhood where he farmed with his father. In 1950 he returned to college on the GI Bill of rights at the State University of Iowa, (U of Iowa) where he receive his BA in 1951.
In 1952 through 1957 he was employed as an editorial cartoonist with the Des Moines Tribune. After that he became a commercial artist with Nelson Advertizing Agency and later Plain Talk Publishing , both of Des Moines. Bob was active in the Des Moines and surrounding area arts communities. He was a member of the Des Moines Art Center, taught art classes, conducted numerous "chalk talks" at various schools and civic functions, and mentored local aspiring artists. During the 1960's, he also drew a regular feature that accompanied the weather report on WHO-TV's evening news.
In 1967 he, his wife and his two younger children moved to Adrian Minn. Where they published a small town newspaper, The Nobles County Review. After a short period of time they purchased a building in Adrian and began The Print Shop, a commercial printing company. During 1971 he began doing some commercial and cartoon work for The Worthington Daily Globe, which eventually led to him doing exclusive cartoon work. During his time there he started a periodic and popular cartoon of life on the farm during his childhood called, "Memories of a Former Kid." This led in 1978 to the publishing of a book by the same name. He remained at the Worthington Globe until the mid 1980's.
After his retirement, he continued drawing feature panels that were syndicated by Extra Newspaper Features Syndicate based at the Rochester Post Bulletin in Rochester, MN. He also began writing his other books, including Memories of a Former Kid, Christmas on the Farm, Ginny, Country School and many more too numerous to mention. Many of his first books were published through Iowa State University Press, and later by Pelican Publishing in New Orleans. Bob's book "Ginny, a Love Remembered" was endorsed by the Altzheimer's Disease Association and contained a Foreword by Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, who was active in Altzheimer's disease awareness, as her mother — 1940's movie actress Rita Hayworth suffered from the illness. His last book, Memories of a Farm Kitchen — co-authored with his son Rob, was released in the autumn of 2010. Several of his books are still in print. His books have netted a substantial fan base in farming communities throughout the U.S. and Canada, and even among rural regions of Europe.
Throughout the entire country, in banks, schools, libraries and now in the Smithsonian, one may find his work. It has been a study in life on the farm in the first years of the previous century. Up into the 1990's Bob made appearances on local talk shows, including two interviews on the Twin Cities' popular Boone & Erickson Show broadcast by WCCO (Minneapolis).
Bob is survived by his wife Margaret, Rob M. Artley of Rochester MN., Steven G. Artley of Alexandria VA, Joan (Artley) Sterner of St. Paul MN as well as 11 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife Ginny and his oldest daughter Jeannie.
Funeral arrangements are pending.