Alex Cook – RIP

Editorial cartoonist Alex Burns Cook has passed away.

Alexander Burns (Alex) Cook

February 1, 1926 – January 25, 2024

Editorial cartoonist, sports cartoonist, caricaturist

From the obituary:

Alex spent most of his youth in Saint Joseph, Michigan where the proximity of tugboats and steamers was the perfect playground for an adventurous boy.

While in high school, Arthur Pornier, the celebrated syndicated cartoonist, hired Alex to do the lettering for his national comic strip, Jitters. Alex knew at that moment that art would dominate his life.

Above: the August 8, 1940 Jitter by Art Poinier. Did Alex assist on this strip? In December of 1940 Art Poinier moved across the state of Michigan from Saint Joseph to The Detroit Free Press as staff cartoonist.

Alex was assigned to the 3rd Engineers Special Brigade in New Guinea where his superiors recognized his artistic talent and assigned him to the company drawing landing maps.

From 2018 is a article about Alex’s World War II service:

After the war, Cook returned to earn a degree in political science and journalism from Ohio Wesleyan University.

Back to the obit:

In 1949, Alex was hired by Paul Bellamy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer as an editorial cartoonist. While at the Plain Dealer, he developed four regular editorial cartoons; Buckeye Corner, Fellow Travelers, That’s Life, and Cap’n Scupper. The latter featured the day-to-day life of a Great Lakes ship captain.

Alex was a Cleveland Plain Dealer cartoonist from 1949 to at least 1955.

above: a 1953 News-Palladium item

More from the article:

“The Plain Dealer in the ’50s was like a family,” he said. “I was happy there. I should’ve never have left.”

Cook took a job in public relations for Edward Howard & Co., but it wasn’t a good fit.

A  friend suggest that he try teaching, so Cook got a masters degree in  education from Western Reserve University, and taught art in Cleveland  elementary schools for 24 years.

He  has also been a volunteer curator for about 45 years; designing and  building exhibits at the society’s former location in Vermillion,  including a large wall mural. Another mural currently is displayed at  the society’s National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo.

His  artwork has appeared in society publications, and for the past 50 years  his paintings have been used for the group’s Christmas cards.

Chris  Gillcrist, executive director of the museum, estimated that sale of  these cards over the years has generated more than $100,000 for the  society.

“Alex is one of the most kind, thoughtful and dedicated persons I have ever worked with,” Gillcrist said.

“He  is also one of the most funny individuals I have ever met,” he added. “I  think humor has been an important part of his longevity.”

3 thoughts on “Alex Cook – RIP

  1. DD, what’s the paper and date on the first news story, and the date on the second, please? Asking for a bibliography.

    1. Both are from The (Benton Harbor) News Palladium.
      “Alex Cook Wins Honors” is from June 7, 1949.
      “College Journal Article” is from August 8, 1953.

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