Pap Dean

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Preston Allen "Pap" Dean, Jr.
Born (1915-08-25)August 25, 1915
Colfax, Louisiana, U.S.
Died August 15, 2011(2011-08-15) (aged 95)
Alexandria, Louisiana, U.S.
Alma mater Louisiana State University, Chicago Academy of Fine Arts
Occupation Cartoonist; Author
Years active 1937–2011
Religion United Methodist
Spouse(s) (1) Doris M. Dean
(2) Jimmie S. Dean
Children David Allen Dean
Barbara Elizabeth Dean
John Charles Dean
Parents P.A. and Addie Swafford Dean

Preston Allen Dean, Jr. (August 25, 1915 – August 15, 2011), known as Pap Dean, was an American cartoonist who was employed from 1938 to 1979 as chief illustrator and editorial cartoonist[1] for the Shreveport Times in Shreveport, the largest newspaper in North Louisiana. An original inductee of the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame, Dean since 1993 had prepared a caricature for the exhibit of each honoree[2] in the museum, which is located in a former railroad depot in downtown Winnfield.[3]

A devotee of Louisiana politics, Dean recalled that Huey Pierce Long, Jr., once bought him a hamburger while they were on the train from Baton Rouge to Nashville, Tennessee, to watch the Louisiana State University Tigers play football.[4]

Early years, education, military[edit]

Dean was born in Colfax, Louisiana, to P.A. Dean, Sr., and the former Addie Swafford (1888–1978)[5] in Colfax, the seat of Grant Parish in north central Louisiana. He received his unusual nickname from teasing classmates in grade school. When he was in his early teens, Dean enrolled in the Landon School of Cartooning in Chicago. C. H. Landon apparently saw such promise in young Dean that he gave him considerable personal instruction.[4]

While in high school his father gave him a portion of land on which to grow cotton. When the crop was sold, the money was deposited in a bank account for Dean's college education. He graduated from Colfax High School in 1932, and enrolled at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, then known as Louisiana Normal. However, the bank in Colfax failed, as the Great Depression swept the nation, and Dean lost his uninsured college funds.

Meanwhile, the still hopeful Dean heard Huey Long speak in Colfax while as governor, Long ran for the United States Senate. Dean wrote Long and told him of his own plight regarding the loss of the college funds. A month later, a local banker sent Dean to Baton Rouge to see LSU President James Monroe Smith, later convicted in the statewide scandals of 1939 known as the "Louisiana Hayride", an identical term to the Shreveport-based Country music program, the Louisiana Hayride. Long had asked Smith to offer Dean financial aid and entry into LSU.[4] By working three jobs in the meantime, Dean obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1937 in political science.[4]

After LSU, Dean enrolled in the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and then joined the Shreveport Times staff. He was married to Doris Moore and had three children. His tenure there was interrupted by three and one-half years in the United States Army, beginning in 1942. He landed with an anti-aircraft battalion at Omaha Beach on D-Day, received a battlefield commission, and was promoted ultimately to the rank of lieutenant colonel.[4]

Cartoonist and author[edit]

Dean’s studio is filled with sketches and caricatures of other cartoonists, including Al Capp, the creator of Li'l Abner, and Bill Mauldin, whose “Up Front” appeared in the Stars and Stripes military newspaper during the war. The late Jeff MacNelly, Pulitzer Prize winner of the Chicago Tribune, patterned his style after Mauldin and later honored Dean with a caricature of Dean himself.[4]

Dean has published some of his drawings in Louisiana Historical Homesteads and he has written a history of Louisiana and a separate volume in 2005 on Natchitoches, considered the oldest town in the former Louisiana Purchase. Entitled Historic Natchitoches: Beauty of the Cane, the book is a study of the history, people, and attractions of the city.[6] On April 13, 2006, Dean wrote a column in the Alexandria Daily Town Talk discussing the origin of the names of the various communities.[7]

After his newspaper tenure, Dean and his second wife, Jimmie S. Dean (1919–2005),[5] retired to the hamlet of Baghdad near Colfax, home of the Louisiana Pecan Festival. He continued thereafter to practice his craft at his own pace through the River Oaks Studio in downtown Alexandria, the seat of Rapides Parish and the largest city in Central Louisiana, located some twenty-five miles south of Colfax.

Dean died ten days before his 96th birthday in an Alexandria hospital. His former Shreveport Times colleague, Wiley W. Hilburn, said that the newspaper office "sort of revolved around Pap. He had a big desk, light table, in the middle of the newsroom. He was a really likable guy. ... He was really good at what he did, and we all grew to rely on him."[1]

Dean donated his body to medical science.[1] A memorial service was held at the Colfax United Methodist Church on September 10, 2011.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Longtime political cartoonist 'Pap' Dean dies at age of 95 in Alexandria". Alexandria Daily Town Talk, August 18, 2011. Retrieved August 18, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Notable People from Grant Parish". ’’Alexandria Daily Town Talk’’. Retrieved August 31, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame". City of Winnfield, Louisiana. Retrieved August 31, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Jack M. Willis, "Pap Dean marks lifetime or art and politics: Art career started with sketching from comic characters in first grade at Colfax Art career started school"". thepineywoods.com, June 26, 2009. Retrieved August 31, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "Social Security Death Index". ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved August 31, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Awards/Press". judgeporterhouse.com. Retrieved August 31, 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ "What makes Grant Parish special for Pap Dean". Alexandria Daily Town Talk, April 13, 2006. Retrieved September 1, 2009.