Editorial cartoonist Barry McWilliams has passed away.
Barry Wayne McWilliams
February 2, 1942 – August 14, 2021
America’s ‘best known, least famous’ cartoonist Barry Wayne McWilliams passed away on August 14, 2021, at his home outside Whitehall, Montana. He was 79 years old.
Barry began drawing his weekly editorial cartoon, J.P. Doodles, for the Madisonian, a small weekly paper in Virginia, Montana for free. Eventually, he cartooned from four continents for more than 1,500 small town weekly newspapers and visited hundreds of elementary schools teaching thousands of kids to draw.
It is with the heaviest of hearts that today we must share with you the loss of our beloved father, and your beloved small town cartoonist, Barry McWilliams.
Barry passed away a few days ago from a sudden heart attack at his home in Pipestone, Montana. One might say his decades of relentless deadlines may finally have caught up to him. But as many of you know and appreciate, he wouldn’t have had it any other way. To have lived to be “almost 80,” and still be so passionate about his work, at the very top of his game after 43 years in the cartoon biz … it was exactly how he dreamed of going out.
Barry connected with local, rural America, but didn’t ignore the rest of the world.
A 1992 feature on Barry in The Albuquerque Journal says he gave cartooning a shot earlier.
In 1978 Barry started cartooning for The Madisonian.
He trained horses in the mountains of Northern New Mexico, drove a Pepsi truck and later a talc truck, and ultimately found himself selling ads and shooting pictures for the Madisonian, a small weekly newspaper in Virginia City, Montana, where he realized his lifelong dream of being a cartoonist might actually happen. At first, began drawing his weekly editorial cartoon, J.P. Doodles, for the Madisonian — for free. A few months later, he split a week’s worth of firewood for his family, bought a week’s worth of food, spent his last $20 on gas, and headed out across Montana on a late-November night with packets of cartoons. The first paper to sign on was the Sanders County Ledger in Thompson Falls, Montana. Eventually, he cartooned from four continents for more than 1,500 newspapers.
He continued ‘tooning right up to the end, sending out his last Back-to-School cartoon on the Thursday before he passed.
From “This is the Enemy?”
The sergeant was on another boring mission in an endless string of boring missions ferrying men and supplies to the front — when, suddenly, out of nowhere, 21 Iraqi soldiers charged onto the road ahead.
Their hands were raised and they were waving white sheets and towels. Even their undershorts — which after the saturation bombings weren’t all that white.
The driver ground the big rig to a halt, grabbed the M -16 carbine off the seat, and jumped out. Checking the Iraqis closely for weapons and being satisfied they were unarmed and quite sincere about surrendering, the sergeant directed them up into the bed of the 2 1/2-ton rig, tossing
them bottled water and MREs as they boarded.
Then the driver took off her helmet, shook her hair loose, and climbed back into the cab of the truck. All at once a chorus of wails rose from the prisoners. “Woman! Woman!” they cried, realizing to their horror that they had just given up to a female. And one by one they dismounted and began hoofing it down the road, apparently to find some American male to capture them.
Barry was a character. Unique. Unlike anyone you’ve ever met. He was a born salesman and an incredible idealist. He was an adventurer who hitchhiked around Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War to interview soldiers, joined a government trade mission to Asia, declared himself “shipwrecked” on Flinders Island off the southern coast of Australia, and helped mastermind America’s biggest cattle drive in over a hundred years. He was a poet, an enigma, and a dreamer.
Barry’s Cartoons has a plethora of cartoons for every occasion.
Like these for past, current, and future conditions in the Western U. S.:
© Barry McWilliams