John Whitaker – RIP

Cartoonist John Whitaker has passed away.


John Earl Whitaker
August 20, 1928 – May 4, 2022


From the obituary:

John Whitaker, age 93, died peacefully Wednesday, 4th of May 2022 at Hearthside Senior Living in Collierville, TN attended by his daughter, Annette Cain and son, Mark.

In 1951, he married Rose Rowan (they were Amory classmates from the first through the twelfth grades). They then moved to Memphis to start a family. John went to work for Delta Air Lines then joined the Air Force and was stationed in Japan during the Korean War. Later, John was the artist for a nationally syndicated cartoon, “Sam’s Supermarket”. Later, John became Membership Chairman for the Memphis Chamber of Commerce then finally had a long career with the Equitable Life Insurance Company.

We’ll put some detail to that “Later, John was the artist for a nationally syndicated cartoon, ‘Sam’s Supermarket'” sentence. We begin with a couple samples of the daily panel that are of its time:

Sam’s Supermarket ran from March 5, 1956 to November 30, 1957 thru United Features Syndicate.

Below is how John’s local paper introduced the cartoon and cartoonist to readers. 


Left out of that introduction was how John developed his cartooning skills.

That was explained in an advertisement in a December 1961 issue of Life.


While John went on to become a successful businessman this page at The Billy Ireland Library & Museum, with a Watergate Era political cartoon and a few portraits from an unknown time, shows John didn’t completely forsake the arts




2 thoughts on “John Whitaker – RIP

  1. Nitpicking Allan here. The feature began on March 5 1956, not the 3rd, and presumably ran into 1958 since it was advertised in that year’s E&P listings. I too have never seen it later than your proposed end date, tho.

  2. Thanks Allan, typo corrected.
    Yeah, and of the half dozen or so papers I checked that carried the panel, they all ended on that 1957 date.

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