Johnny Hart

Obituary
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    - Pat Freiberger
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    - James Harris


Johnny Hart
of Nineveh
Johnny Hart, 76, of Nineveh, died unexpectedly at his drawing board on Saturday afternoon, April 7, 2007. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Bobby Hart; two daughters, Patti and Perri; two grandsons, Mason and Mick Mastroianni; a brother, Jim Hart, Glen Aubrey; a sister, Sue Lambert, Endicott; two nephews and their spouses, Scott and Kathy Lambert, Endicott, Todd and Bridget Lambert, Binghamton; lifelong friends, Jack and Jeanne Caprio, Endicott, Dick and Betty Boland, Endwell; special godchild, Renee Niles; and his beloved Church Family at the Nineveh Presbyterian Church, along with many, many other family, friends and fans. Johnny Hart was born in Endicott, N.Y., on February 18, 1931 to Grace and Irwin Hart, the oldest of three children. As a boy, Johnny demonstrated a talent for art and an original sense of humor. Johnny recalled, "As far back as I can remember, I drew funny pictures which got me in or out of trouble, depending on the circumstances." But he never really considered cartooning as a serious profession until he graduated from Union-Endicott High School in 1949. At age 19 he met Brant Parker, a young cartoonist who became a prime influence in his life and later became a partner in "The Wizard of Id" comic strip, which began in 1964. Shortly after that, Johnny enlisted in the Air Force. During a military assignment that took him to Georgia, he met and married his wife, Bobby in 1952. Stationed at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, he worked as a cartoonist/photographer at the Base newspaper. In 1953 he was sent to Korea where he began producing cartoons for the Pacific Stars and Stripes. After he was discharged from the service, the couple lived at Bobby's mother's farm in Georgia, where in 1954 Johnny sold his first free-lance cartoon to the Saturday Evening Post. Eventually Johnny and Bobby returned to Johnny's hometown of Endicott, N.Y. Since free-lance work alone did not financially sustain the couple, Johnny decided he needed to "get a real job!" He took a position in the art department at General Electric while continuing to sell cartoons to major magazines, all the while developing his own strip that centered around a caveman theme. At Bobby's suggestion he decided to name the characters after friends and family members. After submitting the strip to several syndicates, it was accepted by The New York Herald Tribune and in 1958 B.C. was born! Today, Johnny Hart's B.C. is distributed by Creators Syndicate and its renowned cast of prehistoric characters appearing in newspapers world-wide, and even spawned the B.C. Open, a PGA Tour event held in his hometown, Endicott, N.Y., for the last 34 years. Johnny's dream of joining the distinguished company of fellow cartoonists he admired has more than come true. He has been lauded by his peers and praised by the public. He has won numerous awards for his work, including receiving the prestigious Reuben Award twice for Cartoonist of the Year. The National Cartoonist Society presented the first award for B.C. in 1968 and the second award was presented to Brant Parker for The Wizard of Id in 1984.
Funeral Services will be held at the Nineveh Presbyterian Church, 2997 N.Y. Rte. 7, on Friday at 11 a.m. Rev. Emrys Tyler, Pastor, will officiate. Burial will be in Nineveh Presbyterian Cemetery. The family will receive friends at the Osterhoudt-Madden Funeral Home, 69-71 Maple Street, Harpursville, on Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. and Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in memory of Johnny may be made to the Nineveh Presbyterian Church Building Fund POB, 115 Nineveh, N.Y. 13813.

Published in Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin from Apr. 9 to Apr. 13, 2007
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