SAN JOSE, Calif — Eldon Pletcher, the New Orleans Times-Picayune’s editorial cartoonist from 1966 through 1984, died Sept. 15 in San Jose. The cause was emphysema and congestive heart failure.
He is survived by his two children, Thomas (Barbara) Pletcher, Maplecrest, N.Y. and Ellen (David) Metzger, San Jose; a niece, Sandra (Ray) Cripe and their children of Goshen, Ind.; and first cousins, William Pletcher, Howard Pletcher and Donald Weaver. He was preceded in death by his sister, Florence McDonald.
His wife of 51 years, the former Barbara Jeanne Jones, died in 1999.
Mr. Pletcher had a long and successful career as a cartoonist. Prior to his work at the Times-Picayune, he had been a nationally recognized editorial cartoonist at the Sioux City Journal. His work was widely reprinted in other publications, including the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, U.S. News & World Report, and many others.
Mr. Pletcher’s work was also represented in many annual anthologies, as well as in permanent collections, including those at Syracuse University, the University of Southern Mississippi, the University of Cincinnati, the Boston Museum of Art, the Harry S. Truman Library, the Lyndon B. Johnson Library and Wichita State University.
Eldon Pletcher was born Sept. 10, 1922 in Goshen, where his parents, Arthur and Dora (Cripe) Pletcher, ran a large farm. Eldon grew up in that agricultural milieu. He developed an artistic interest early, however, and after graduating from Goshen High School in 1940 he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago prior to joining the U.S. Army in 1943. Mr. Pletcher served with 76th Infantry Division in Europe and participated in the Battle of the Bulge and other campaigns. He also studied at the University of Scotland in Aberdeen and at the John Heron Art School in Indianapolis. During the war years, Pletcher was a cartoonist for Yank Magazine, the renowned Army publication. His work there was instrumental in landing his first full-time position as an editorial cartoonist, for the Sioux City Journal. He married Barbara Jones in 1948 and began his career at the Sioux City Journal, Iowa in 1949, working there until 1966.
In addition to political cartoons, which brought him national recognition, Mr. Pletcher also pursued “gag” cartoons. He relished humor for its own sake, with or without political repercussions, and he remained active in the field throughout his adult life.
In recent years, Eldon Pletcher published hundreds of cartoons (both political and purely humorous) on cartoonstock.com, a large website devoted to the art form and based in England. Mr. Pletcher’s work was purchased by collectors from around the world, and he contributed work to the site up until days before his death.
An 11:30 a.m. funeral service will take place Saturday at Yoder-Culp Funeral Home, Goshen.
Burial will follow at Rock Run Cemetery, Goshen.