John Yardley-Jones – RIP

Editorial cartoonist John Yardley-Jones has passed away.

John William Yardley-Jones

May 1, 1930 – December 6, 2023

From The Edmonton Journal:

John, or Yardley as he was known to many, was an editorial cartoonist, watercolourist, marathon runner, cross-country skier, honorary mayor of New Sarepta, and larger-than-life character.

above: early Edmonton Journal cartoons from 1962 and 1963

From the obituary:

In 1957 he emigrated to Canada with his wife Mary. Settling first in Edmonton, he sold freelance cartoons while working as a house painter. His big break came in 1962 when the Edmonton Journal hired him as their first editorial cartoonist. In 1963 reacting to John F. Kennedy’s pronouncement that “our American soldiers should be able to walk 50 miles in less than 20 hours,” Yardley sparked a media stunt walking the 50 miles from New Sarepta to Edmonton in 16.5 hours.

above: Yardley Jones cartoon after recuperating from his 50 mile trek

From The Montreal Gazette:

Yardley’s career as an editorial cartoonist spanned decades as well as major Canadian newspapers. In 1968 he and Mary and their growing family moved across the country to Toronto where he worked for the Toronto Telegram, winning a National Newspaper Award in 1971. After the Telegram folded, he worked at the Toronto Sun, then in 1973 moved to the Montreal Star until its demise, then returned to Edmonton in 1981 working for the Edmonton Sun, and back to the Edmonton Journal in 1984 until retiring in 1993. Syndicated across Canada, he famously hid a black cat in all his works. A large collection of his cartoons was acquired by the National Archives of Canada and the Provincial Archives of Alberta.

The Yardley Jones page at Canadian ACI has a bibliography of John’s book and periodical work.

Yardley Jones website (accessed via The Wayback Machine) continues John’s biography:

In 1988, a Canadian-based television network invited Yardley to host a 26-part series called, Cartooning With Yardley Jones. The series was eventually picked up by public television in the U.S.

Having left the newspaper business in the early 90s, Yardley turned his attention more firmly to his watercolors, painting landscapes and cityscapes in Edmonton and around Alberta.

Then, in 1993, the witty, life-loving — healthy — Yardley Jones, was struck down by a stroke, perhaps the result of his participation over the years in tasking, physical events at high altitudes. He survived the stroke. Doctors say he might not have made it if he had not already been in excellent shape, but he had to learn how to talk, read and write again. And he did. In fact, nine months after the stroke, he was even cross-country skiing in a Canadian Birkebeiner.

While he settled back into his life and his art, he was approached by an Alberta Entrepreneur, Clarence Shields, who offered him the opportunity to create a series of cartoons and illustrations for a book Clarence was developing with Author, Fred Keating. Within a short time, The Bachelor’s Guide To Ward Off Starvation hit the bookstores and became a national best seller, with over a quarter of a million copies sold in Canada and the U.S.