Judy Dixon – RIP

Editorial cartoonist Judy Dixon has passed away.

Judith Grace (Judy) Dixon (neé McCormack)
January 15, 1927 – July 7, 2022


From The Jefferson County (Mo.) Leader obituary:

Hall of Fame cartoonist Judith “Judy” McCormack Dixon died July 7 in De Soto at age 95.

Mrs. Dixon enjoyed a 70-plus-year career as an artist, the last 25 or so as an editorial cartoonist for the Leader. Her last cartoon appeared in the May 20, 2021, issue, and she officially retired the following month.

“I drew my first recognizable figure at age 2,” she said at the time of her Hall of Fame induction. “There was never any question that I would work as an artist.

She graduated from Washington University in 1949 with a fine arts degree and worked for a time as an illustrator for Concordia Publishing in St. Louis.

[Judy and her family] returned to Jefferson County for good in 1977, and she took a job with the former Daily News Democrat in the advertising department.

Mrs. Dixon also drew children’s book illustrations and horror comics, as well as numerous fashion designs. She illustrated Bible stories, designed advertisements and drew greeting cards.

From the Missouri Press Association (2014):

Judy Dixon, 87, has served readers as an advertising illustrator and, for the last 25 years, as an editorial cartoonist for several Jefferson County newspapers. She has been a professional artist for 65 years.

Dixon’s work has been recognized consistently by her peers and has garnered Missouri Press Association awards, including first place for cartoons rendered in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Her first job after graduating with a fine arts degree from Washington University in 1949 was as an illustrator for Concordia Publishing in St. Louis. In 1977, she began working at the Daily News Democrat. One of her first assignments was to illustrate the courtroom proceedings of a murder trial in Hillsboro.

For the past three decades, through a single cartoon each week, she keeps a sharp eye on those people in public positions. She also has rendered portraits to illustrate long-form obituaries of prominent citizens.

Judy’s editor Patrick Martin remembers:

Long-time Jefferson County newspaper editor Jack Lovelace was one of the first to lure Judy, then working as an advertising artist at the old Daily News-Democrat, from the ad department into the fray of the newsroom.

“For all the words I would write, the visual often did more to make the point to the readers,” he said.

I inherited the wonderful asset that was Judy in the late 1980s after Lovelace moved out of state. For most of the next 30 years, Judy and I were a tight team on the News-Democrat’s editorial page, and then the Leader’s. Lovelace was right-on in his assessment — frequently Judy could outpunch an 800-word column with a single image.

Judy was a great lady, full of fire and fun and vinegar and enthusiasm. She worked well past her 90th birthday, embarrassing me, who wimped out at 67. It was like retiring before your mom did.

Not many small-town newspapers have cartoonists anymore. Even fewer have an enormous talent like Judy Dixon plopped in their laps. Her co-workers – and especially Jefferson County readers – shared for decades in that amazing good fortune.