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So sad to report our founder, Jim Whiting died last night in Los Angeles.
i will be updating this site with people's memories, photos, art and news as it comes in.
No services . You can send your cards to
4061 Grand View Blvd, apt. 303
Los Angeles, CA 90066
The SCCS Brain Trust
Paul Gringle, Paul Norris Jim Whiting, Charlie Roberts
The Sadist news since my Mom
died. It was my Daughter Staci's
Birthday yesterday, Bitter, Bitter,
Sweet day. My prayers go out to
Bernita. John Wismont ...
So Sad we all have to share this
Jim was an extraordinary man and
friend to all of us who knew him.
Jack Roach just called to let us know
the sad sad news of Jim Whiting's
passing. I would appreciate it if you
could share these thoughts with the
Jim Whiting was one of the sweetest,
most generous, funny, talented people
you could ever have the honor to know.
I met Jim Whiting (and Bert) at the 2nd
SCCS event I attended back in Spet
2002- a tiny subset of the group used
to meet at the Broken Yolk in Pacific
Beach on Thursdays for lunch. I had
no idea at that time of Jim's central role
in forming the SCCS years earlier. Ted
and I had been welcomed at our 1st
SCCS evening event by Jack White
and Lynn Stedd and by Janet Williams
(then president), and that led us to join
But the SCCS lunch two weeks later
was a hoot - Jim cracking jokes with
Jack Roach and a few others was the
main entertainment. Then Jim pulled
out some in-progress storyboards for
work he was doing, and I was struck by
how talented he was as a cartoonist.
It was only later that Ted and I realized
Jim was also a magician, a member of
Ring 76 magic club along with Ted and
Jack White. I began to make up gags
to tease Ted for practicing too much,
Jim would draw them and they
appeared once per month in the
newsletter of the magic club for ten
years. What incredible luck for me: an
excuse to interact with Jim and Bert at
least once per month for such a long
Jim's enthusiasm was infectious. He
loved cartooning, he made friends feel
valued, he gave generously of his time
and art to help with Lynn's excellent
work at the San Diego Blood Bank. Jim
volunteered as a teacher for people
learning English as a second
language, and he brought a smile into
the lives of hundreds of thousands of
people through his cartoons. His work
reflected his spirit: playful and clever
but gentle and kind. It may be a little
easier to make people laugh if you do
it at the expense of others, but that
was never Jim's style. His humor was
sweet and funny.
To quote Cole Porter, Jim was "the
tops". We loved him. He will be deeply
Ellen Friedman (with Ted Dunning)
Heartbreaking news for all of us who knew and loved
this amazing man. But perhaps good news for Jim. We
all know how much he was suffering lately; we can only
hope he’s found peace. If kind-heartedness and
generosity are worth anything in Heaven then Jim
should get the best drawing board in the House.
Rest well, ol’ fren.
Greg and Betty Evans
Jim will truly be missed, but
his charm and talent will live
on in all who knew him and
Attached is a photo of us at
his wonderful party.
Love, Darlene and Norm
When I was an aspiring cartoonist, Greg
Evans invited me to an SCCS meeting at
the Broken Yoke in PB. I hardly had a
second to wonder who are all these
strangers when Jim approached me with
his hand out, welcomed me and chatted
me up like an old friend. Between Jim
and Greg, I met everybody who was
anybody in SCCS that first night.
Soon after, I got to know Jim while
drawing caricatures for Cartoonists Day
at the Blood Bank. We sat side-by-side
at Cartoonists Day every year.
I loved his many magic tricks mainly
because he liked doing them. There are
so many memories, so many occasions -
one memory I have was the Blood Bank
rewarding all of us with a tour of the
Midway. It was a perfectly beautiful day
and Jim and Bernita looked beautiful that
day too. (I’ll be posting photos on our
website tonite). It sounds trite, but Jim
really was one of the nicest, most
generous people I’ve ever known.
My world changed one night at a
meeting at Veoh when we were
surprising Jim on his 80th birthday. As I
marched out in the dark with nothing but
the glow of the candles to light my way, I
promptly dropped Jim’s giant cake
upside down on the newly carpeted floor.
I was horrified Jim was immediately
forgiving me, saying that the food-on-the-
ground rule was 15 minutes, not five
seconds as previously thought. And you
know free cake isn't going to be turned
down by cartoonists so we ate what we
could salvage. Everyone realizede what
a dork I was and soon after made me
president of SCCS. That was 9 years
Lynn Stedd and I I visited Jim and
Bernita the day before they moved to
LA. The place was almost empty and
they had been giving away memorabila
for weeks. Jim had a gift for me – an
umbrella covered with classic comic
strips. Just my style!
Because Jim was old, I guess it’s no
surprise he’s gone; I will miss him
greatly. He asked me that last day did I
consider SCCS his legacy? Yes,
absolutely! Jim Whiting, founder SCCS!
More postings to come
Jim was the best surprise ever for me. He appeared in my office in
1987 as a proud grandfather and blood donor who wanted to
encourage his grandchildren to give back. So he designed a blood
donor t-shirt for the kids and grand kids of blood donors. To make
a long story short, he created the Blood Donasaur t-shirt which was
so popular with blood donors that not only the kids, but the parents
and grandparents wanted to have one. That started a nearly 30
year friendship with Jim, Bernita, myself and my husband Jack. He
just gave and gave and gave. . .and he was so talented. I am
grateful that he walked into my office way back then. Jim made
every event that he was involved with fun and worthwhile. Jack and
I will miss him, but he will always be in our hearts. We love you!
Lynn Stedd and Jack White
This is very sad. I've known Jim almost 25 years and a finer
gentleman would be hard to find. He was always good spirited,
loving and giving, available to mentor, guide, and share his
wealth of knowledge. I was lucky to call him "friend." He will be
sorely missed. He touched many lives. My heartfelt
condolences to Bernita. Hugs.
Sad news indeed. Jim was one of the nicest
men we ever met.
Always Positive with a great sense of humor
and more than that, a Great friend.
To say he'll be missed is an understatement;
we'll never see his like again.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Bernita
and family, and his many friends.
Most Sincerely, Charlie, Joan, and Hobie
(yes, he loved our dog Hobie too !)
Hello, everyone. I am just stunned to
get this news.
I first joined SCCS sometime during a
summer between 1986 and 1988 until
I moved away from Southern
California in 2009.
Of course, Jim and Bernita were
ever-present. It just won't be the same
simply knowing he's no long with us.
I'll be in touch with Bernita privately,
so thank you for her current contact
My thoughts are with the group as we
all adjust to this sad news.
Norma-Jean ("NJ") Strickland
Very sad. He was always very
kind--made it a point to talk to my
then-young son when I'd bring him to
our meetings in PB. He was one cool
cat. George Brewster
I am truly saddened by the news.
He was charming, open and a true
friend. He will be missed by me as
one of the few faces who always
had a smile and something witty to
add to every gathering. We need
more like him to fill the hole he left
Jim Whiting, 1928-2015
Jim Whiting died March 30 in Los Angeles, where he and his wife
Bernita had moved into an assisted living facility a couple of years
ago, leaving San Diego, their home for almost 30 years. He had
been living with some form of cancer for several years; then a
couple years ago, he got a virus that affected the joints. His arm
was always in a sling and he was in pain, which made drawing, his
life-long passion, next to impossible.
I shared a hotel room with Jim Whiting a few times at the
National Cartoonist Society Reubens weekends or other cartoonist
events. And sharing a room with Jim is the only way to have a
conversation with him. In the wild—that is, out among cartoonists at
these convivial conveenings—Jim was forever spying across the
room a comrade of yore who needed to be greeted. You might start
a conversation with Jim, but it would come to a halt the minute he
saw over your shoulder someone he hadn’t seen in a long time: he’
d immediately dash off to shake a hand and find out what was going
on with that person. If the human (sic) sapien is an essentially social
creature—a being who lives and thrives only in society—then Jim
was the quintessential human. He liked people.
And he was perpetually cheerful. If he couldn’t think of a joke or
witticism, Jim could still grin and say something cheerful. No wonder
he was welcome wherever he went.
We never talked much on telephone: by the time we knew each
other, we were both a little deaf, and telephone conversations—
which necessarily were conducted without the benefits of lip-
reading—tended to be a rapid exchange of “What?” and “What”
Once when we were in the audience at one of the triennial
cartoon festivals at the Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State
University, Bernita sat between us so she could tell us both what
was being said on the stage in front of the room. Mostly, we turned
to her when the audience laughed: we asked her to repeat the
Jim couldn’t keep a straight face even when reciting his
autobiography for the NCS Membership Album. Born May 19, 1928
in Canton, Pennsylvania, he was taken at the age of two by his
parents to Watkins Glen, New York, and that’s where he grew up
and spent most of his life. His childhood apparently teemed with
typically uneventful events until 1942, when, he reports, “I got my
biggest laugh when I was elected President of the Junior Class.
Passed out cold. Decided drawing cartoons is a better way to
The next year, he met Bernita Blanchard and the year after
that, he joined the Navy, and the next year on November 20, he
married his “highschool sweetheart,” Bernita, and they both
returned to Watkins Glen after Jim’s discharge in July 1946.
Then Jim met New Yorker cartoonist Sam Cobean, who
summered in Watkins Glen.
“It opened a door that allowed a peek into a wonderful world for
me,” Jim said in his autobiography. “While not telling me what
direction I should choose, he did make me aware of—and indicated
that I should investigate—some of the options available: comic
strips, editorial cartoons, animation, advertising, children’s books,
comic books, and, of course, magazine cartoons. ... Sam took the
time to look at my first efforts and patiently answered questions.
Seated at his drawing table, he put tracing paper over my drawings
and with his pencil made suggestions that improved the composition
and the gag.
“Although kind and considerate,” Jim went on, “he got the
message through: ‘Go to art school, Jim.’”
Cobean continued to encourage Jim for the next few years until
he tragically died in a car crash in July 1951.
“I was deeply touched,” Jim wrote, “when Sam’s wife Anne
called after the funeral to ask if I would like to have her husband’s
drawing table. It was so thoughtful of her. Often after that, the
thought occurs: how that table, which had been central to the
production of a great body of work by the original owner, has
continued to serve its present one for more than half a century. It’s
almost as though this utilitarian piece of furniture is a metaphysical
continuation of Sam’s guidance.”
Jim took Cobean’s advice: in 1948, he went to Illinois and
enrolled in the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. While attending
classes, he worked as a mailman in suburban Chicago—“for one
week only,” he admitted, “because I kept getting lost on my route.
The Chicago Academy put up with me for a longer period—four
months.” (That’s how long it took Jim to run out of money.)
Burne Hogath’s Cartoonist and Illustrator’s School in New York
City “was even more lenient,” Jim reported, “allowing me to attend
night sessions for two years and teach day classes!”
Jim qualified for a Veteran’s Administration loan and bought a
tiny house near New York City. About this time, he sold his first
cartoon to a national magazine, Seventeen, and then began selling
to most of the major magazines, “which were decreasing in number
as my family was increasing in number” (up to five, eventually—and
at least eleven grandchildren).
In 1952, he and Bernita returned to Watkins Glen, and Jim
freelanced for the next five years. In 1953, he—with Joe Daley—
founded UCLA (Upstate Cartoonists League of America). Early
members included Brad Anderson, Ford Button, Johnny Hart, Reg
Hider, Brant Parker and Fred Thomas. Then in 1956, he took what
he thought was a part-time job at the local radio station, WFLR,
where he was an “on the air” personality and a control room
operative. Twenty-nine years later, he said, “WFLR gave me a gold
Meanwhile, starting in 1957, Jim began drawing the syndicated
that feature Larry Hurb (aka Len Bruh) was writing, AD Libs, a gag
panel cartoon for newspapers’ classified ad sections. Syndicated by
General Features, the job lasted over 15 years; then Joe Daley
inherited the drawing chores. Before that gig played out, Jim
“adopted” in 1965 two syndicated gag cartoon features created by
Mell Lazarus— Li’l Ones and Wee Women (Lazarus deserted his
first born for Miss Peach, a comic strip he’d launched in 1957)—
which he continued for the next 11 years.
In 1964, Jim opened The Cartoon Studio and Gallery in
Watkins Glen, displaying and selling original cartoon art and
cartoon-related merchandise (books, mostly). “Hung in there for
four years,” he said, “but lost money.”
By the mid-1970s, Jim was no longer producing syndicated
cartoons, but he continued freelancing and talking on the radio.
Then in 1984, he and Bernita packed up and moved to San Diego,
where he persisted in freelancing cartoons to magazines and ad
agencies on both coasts—“Doing full-time what I’ve always enjoyed
the most,” he said.
At his website, jimtoons.com, we learn that Jim has published
over 14,000 cartoons. While still freelancing cartoons in his later
years, he also specialized in providing humorous illustrations for
instruction manuals, corporate magazines and trade publications.
A couple of years after he arrived in San Diego, he and Brad
Anderson invited some local cartoonists, Paul Norris, Sherm
Goodrich and Lyle Swiger, to lunch. “That was the genesis of the
Southern California Cartoonists Society,” Jim wrote. While sharing
the credit for founding SCCS, Jim characteristically forgot to
mention that he nurtured it as president for the next 15 years.
SCCS, like UCLA, is now a chapter in NCS’s sprawling national
Jim published an autobiography in 2005. Entitled Analecta:
Selected Reflections of a Cartoonist’s Life, the book is just that:
“analecta” meaning “a collection of literary passages,” which, in this
case, are stitched together as a crazy quilt of friendships.
In fact, one has the impression, after reading the book, that it’s
more about Jim’s friends than it is about him. The book is organized
around the names of his acquaintances and colleagues, whom Jim
admires unreservedly. We learn about Jim, his aspirations and
achievements, mostly by what he says, almost incidentally, when
introducing us to his friends.
And that’s just exactly as it should be. Jim was not much
involved with himself: he’s much more interested in other people. If
you set him loose in a roomful of perfect strangers, he’ll know more
about each one of them within a half-hour than you could find out in
a week. The thing that interests Jim is other people—what they do,
what they think. And he’ll drop everything in pursuit of this sort of
knowledge. The book is exactly like that. (A longer review of this
tome appears at RCHarvey.com, Rants & Raves, Opus 180).
Jim was an affable, kind and out-going person, and the book is
a perfect reflection of his personality. You may not learn all that
much about what a cartoonist does, day-by-day (or a radio
personality), but you get to know Jim Whiting pretty well. And that,
after all, is what autobiography is about. And Jim’s casual prose
style—warm, conversational and gently humorous—completes the
reflection. The volume, full of Jim’s cartoons and numerous photos
of his friends and family, is still available through Amazon.com
In San Diego, when not cartooning, Jim enjoyed beach hikes,
exploring San Diego, Dixieland jazz, shop talk with cartoonists, and
magic—both doing it and watching it done. (His book of magic
cartoons, A Rabbit Under the Hat, done with Ellen Friedman, is
reviewed at Rants & Raves, Opus 317.) And tennis. He was
passionate about tennis and played every day he could until just a
couple years ago.
While strolling around town, Jim indulged a hobby: like most of
the rest of us, he picked up any friendless coins he saw lying about
on streets, parking lots and sidewalks, but Jim didn’t just pocket the
accidentally gained loot: he kept track of the monetary value, year
by year, so he’d know how much richer he was by the end of the
year. The year 2005 was a pretty good year: he amassed $10.42;
but the record year was 2000, when he rescued $20.70 from
But the real wealth in Jim’s life was his family and knowing other
cartoonists. “Cartoonists, pound for pound, are as nice as any
people I’ve ever met,” he’d say, always adding: “I feel lucky to be a
cartoonist—and most grateful for 42 (eventually, 70) years of
understanding support I’ve had from my childhood sweetheart, Bert.”
I’ll miss him.