George Robert Artley (Bob Artley) husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, author cartoonist, illustrator and commercial artist passed away 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 concentrating 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 known for his editorial cartoons at the Des Moines Tribune and Worthington Daily 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 near Hampton 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 Grinnell 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 South Fork, PA.
Bob returned to civilian life in 1946 and to the home 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 received 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 Advertising 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 MN 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, A Love Remembered", "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 Alzheimer's Association and contained a Foreword by Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, who was active in Alzheimer'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, who resides at 87 Wilpark Dr. Akron, OH 44312 and his children: Rob M. Artley, of Rochester MN., Steven G. Artley of Alexandria VA, Joan (Artley) Sterner of St. Paul MN; five stepchildren: Janice( Hawes) Barton of Akron,OH, Ron Hawes of Copley, OH, Sharman ( Hawes) Stender of Barberton, OH, Ken Hawes of Gainsville, FL and Gary Hawes of Romana, CA, as well as 11 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, 10 stepgrandchildren and 12 step great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife Ginny, and his oldest daughter Jeannie.
Inurnment will be in the Hampton Cemetery.
Aloha oe Bob!
There were four families that were so close to each other in Waukee, IA = the Artleys, Morrises, Petersons, and Orrs. The families had children of similar ages, so fun was had by all.
Special memories of my friendship with the Artleys is long:
The Artley creativity gene spread to all the kids: Jeannie (writing), Rob (writing and acting), Steve (art), and Joanie (art). It was the most artisitically creative family I had the pleasure to know.
The children creating plays and performing them for the adults in the basement theater.
Popcorn was the preferred snack.
Singing around the piano.
Playing up in the attic.
Special memories of Bob:
The cartoon "The Peace that Passeth Understanding" showing the entire family sitting in church surrounded by visions of the messy rooms left at home.
Bob drew his Hobo cartoon to match the weather and drove it to the TV studio.
Bob had an enchanting Scottish brogue.
Bob's creativity included making the miniature farm buildings for the yard.
Growing up on a farm near Heron Lake, MN in the late 60s and 70s, I looked forward to reading Bob Artley's cartoons in the Worthington Daily Globe. Thanks for smiles and the memories, Bob!
Our thoughts are with you..
We knew Bob and Ginny when they lived in Hampton
Dean and Patsy Lewerke
It is with great sadness that we learn of Cousin Bob's passing. What a wonderful, talented, caring man. His legacy will live on in so many ways through his body of work, and through his family and his step family for whom he cared so deeply. We treasure the memories we have of Bob and of the several original pieces of art and prints, and the autographed books we have. What a legacy of love he leaves.
(continued) Bob came into Grandma's life at the right time. They were able to
love one another and enjoy many years together. I'll remember
painting with Bob, the pride I had in getting a signed book from him,
his easy smile and his direct, honest gaze when he spoke to you.
I've attached some links below to some of the published work he leaves
behind, including "Ginny, A Love Remembered"; the book Bob wrote after
he lost his wife, Ginny, to Alzheimer's, which is what touched my
Grandma after losing Grandpa to Alzheimer's and, ultimately, brought
Grandma and Bob together. He was a good man.
Once Upon a Farm
Christmas on the Farm
Ginny, A Love Remembered
Uncle Bob is as dear to me as my dad is. I miss him so much already.
Bob Artley passed away today at 2:30 pm. He has been my step-grandpa, my
mom's step-dad, and my Grandma's husband for the past 15 years. He was a
wonderful man, who was known, not only for his incredible artwork and books,
but for his amazing heart and rare capacity to always see the the special
something in life, work and the people around him. Mom, my Aunt Janice, my
Uncle Ron and Grandma all spent
time with him today and it was Jan who was with him when he passed.
She said he passed very peacefully, without any struggle. One moment he was
breathing and the next moment he wasn't. It amazes me that he's been in my
life as long as my Grandpa had been. I am so fortunate to have had two
amazing men in that role. My Grandpa raised my mom and her brothers and
sister to be the wonderful people they are. He loved his grandkids and was
a shining example of a hard worker and a good man. Bob came into Grandma's
life at the right time. They were able to love one another (continued
My son, Cole, said at the information that his great grandfather had died. "He was my inspiration." Great Grandps (my grandfather) gave him the drawing board that he was given very early in childhood.
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