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Inspiration for Family Circus mom passes away

Bil Keane’s wife, Thelma, has passed away at the age of 82. Bil based the Family Circus mom character after his wife.

“I give all the credit to my wife Thel who was the inspiration for all the cartoons,” Keane told the Republic. “She was very, very vital to any success that I had. When the cartoon first appeared, she looked so much like Mommy that if she was in the supermarket pushing her cart around, people would come up to her and say, Aren’t you the Mommy in ‘Family Circus?’ and she would admit it.”

Community Comments

#1 Larry Levine
May/27/2008
@ 8:15 am

My sincerest condolences to the Keane family.

#2 Rich Diesslin
May/27/2008
@ 9:05 pm

Ditto.

#3 mike crachiolo
May/28/2008
@ 8:47 pm

i have been reading family circus since 1960 i read the first panel when i was 12 and have been reading it ever since condolences go out bil and the rest of the keane family
sincerely
mike cracholo

#4 Donna Spose
May/31/2008
@ 7:06 am

My heartfelt sympathy to the Keane family. You helped me laugh through some trying years of parenthood. You have given so much joy to so many over the years, and I pray that the time will pass quickly to the day when thoughts of your dear Thel will be ones which will only bring smiles to your faces, instead of tears, and joy and peace to your hearts.

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