Bil Keane – Rest in Peace

Cartoonist Bil Keane, creator of “Family Circus” passed away on Tuesday November 8th, 2011 at the ripe old age of eighty-nine. Born in 1922 in Philadelphia, Keane taught himself to draw in high school and was an inspiration to so many that followed.

In an Associated Press interview back 1995 Bil suggested the cartoon endured because of its consistency and simplicity.

“It’s reassuring, I think, to the American public to see the same family,” he said.

I have such fond memories of reading this cartoon in the Sunday paper along with my grandmother. She too got a big kick out of the antics of PJ, Billy, Dolly and Jeffy. I always found the “not me” ghost kind of character so funny. It was to be expected of course it’s kids. I have especially loved that Bil’s cartoon showed a truly loving, faithful and real family. He did not try to “shock” with his strip or “push the envelope” so to speak for ratings. He showed family issues about truth, faith and mostly the kind of things that kids really do ask about and the trouble they can and do get in to.

Although the cartoon strips were shown in what’s called the “Funny Papers”, Bil never intended for them to be comical. His idea for the strip was: “I would rather have the readers react with a warm smile, a tug at the heart or a lump in the throat as they recall doing the same things in their own families”.

Well Bil, you succeeded in touching the hearts of so many and you did it with class and for that I would like to say “Thank you Bil”.

To quote little Jeffy in your cartoon as he was leaving Mass, “G’Bye God. Thank you, I had a nice time”. Now you can say “Hello God, I’m happy to be home”.