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Tom Wilson Sr.

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CLEVELAND  Tom Wilson Sr., the creator of the hard-luck comic strip character Ziggy, has died, his family said Monday. He was 80.

Tom Wilson Jr., who took over the comic in 1987, said his father died Friday of pneumonia at a Cincinnati hospital. The elder Wilson had moved from Cleveland to a Cincinnati nursing home about eight years ago to be near his family, his son said.

Mr. Wilson was an artist at American Greetings card company in Cleveland for more than 35 years and first published "Ziggy" in a 1969 cartoon collection, "When You're Not Around."

"Ziggy" was launched in 15 newspapers in 1971 and now appears in more than 500 daily and Sunday newspapers. It also has appeared in books and greeting cards.

Wilson Jr. said the name Ziggy derived from his father's school experience of being the last alphabetically. When a new classmate arrived with a last name beginning with "Z," the idea took root with the friendly sounding "y" ending, such as Billy or Tommy.

Published in The Record/Herald News on Sept. 21, 2011
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