HAMPTON — George Robert “Bob” Artley, a Hampton native whose “Memories of a Former Kid” cartoons were popular in many publications including the Globe Gazette, died Friday in Akron, Ohio.
He was 94.
Artley grew up on the family farm near Hampton where he showed a talent in art in high school and then at Grinnell College. His love for drawing was matched with his love for farm life.
“I like everything about a farm,” he said in a 2003 interview with the Globe Gazette. “There was a downside, of course, like everything else. It was hard work — discouraging at times, But you’re outside. I liked the outside. I liked the animals. I just liked the whole farm atmosphere.”
He was drafted in 1941, just before his senior year at Grinnell. After the war, he and his wife, Ginny, returned to the family farm near Hampton.
He completed his education at the University of Iowa, where he did editorial cartoons for the Daily Iowan. His work caught the attention of the Des Moines Tribune where he worked from 1952 to 1957.
Artley worked for an advertising agency for a year and then was art director for a publishing company for nine years.
He and his wife tried running a couple of weekly papers before Artley signed on as an editorial cartoonist with the Worthington, Minn., Daily Globe in 1971.
It was during this time that Artley self-published his first “Memories of a Former Kid” book. The Artleys couldn’t keep up with the demand and sold the rights to Iowa State University.
Ginny died of Alzheimer’s disease. He wrote a book about their life together and met his second wife, Margaret, because of it. Her husband had died of Alzheimer’s. After reading his book, she contacted Artley, they got together and eventually married.
On June 8, 1982, the day “Memories of a Former Kid” began appearing in the Globe Gazette, Artley described what he was trying to achieve in depicting Iowa farm life in th 1920s and ’30s.
“I wanted to show how things used to be done,” he said, “the mood of the times, the poetry of living then. I wanted to give proper perspective to a life that was good and can still be good.”
— Arrangements for Artley are pending at the Sietsema-Vogel Funeral Home in Hampton.