August 26, 2021 | View PDF
hat today we must share with you the loss of our beloved father, and your beloved small town cartoonist, Barry McWilliams.
Barry passed away a few days ago from a sudden heart attack at his home in Pipestone, Montana. One might say his decades of relentless deadlines may finally have caught up to him. But as many of you know and appreciate, he wouldn’t have had it any other way. To have lived to be “almost 80,” and still be so passionate about his work, at the very top of his game after 43 years in the cartoon biz … it was exactly how he dreamed of going out.
Dad labored so hard through the years because he believed deeply in the greatest virtues of small town folks — our resilience, our neighborly generosity, our plain spoken truths, and (of course) our humor. In a long, rich life filled with travels and adventure, Barry was authentically at home in your local cafe, post office, gas station, or newspaper office. He was intimate with the ebbs and flows, cycles and seasons of small town living. And of late, as small town papers struggle like never before in the face of relentless social media and industry consolidation, he was a tireless champion of the printed page — of the critical importance of local journalism and opinion pages to a free democracy.
What follows is the last email he composed to you all — we found it in his drafts folder, with a “classic” cartoon all queued up and ready to send. We intend to keep his full offering of nearly 800 cartoons online, to remain available to all you indefinitely, just as he would have wanted.
Our deepest love and appreciation to you all — thank you for helping him become the legend he was.
Collie, Summer, Ethan,
and Noah McWilliams
Editor’s Note: The last cartoon sent to us by Barry McWilliams appears in this issue.