Don Addis

On this day in 1935, Donald Gordon Addis was born in Hollywood, Calif., on a Friday the 13th. He grew up in (where else) Hollywood, Fla., and in 2004, after a long career as a freethinking editorial cartoonist and columnist with the St. Petersburg Times, he retired, on a (what else) Friday the 13th. Addis was an FFRF Lifetime Member and his cartoons have long been a treasured part of FFRF publications. Addis received the foundation’s Freethought in the Media “Tell It Like It Is” award at the 2005 national convention in Orlando.

Addis had a degree in design from the University of Florida, where he also edited the Orange Peel, then ranked as the nation’s No. 1 college humor magazine. He also served as editorial cartoonist on his college newspaper, The Alligator, as he did on his U.S. Army newspaper before that. He won 16 awards for cartooning from the Armed Forces Press Service. His work included the comic strips “Briny Deep” (1980), “The Great John L.” (1982–84), “Babyman” (1985) and “Bent Offerings” (1988–2004). He received the National Cartoonist Society Newspaper Panel Cartoon Award for 1992 for “Bent Offerings.”

He was awarded the National Cartoonists Society prize for Best Newspaper Panel Cartoon for 1993. He won the Florida Education Association School Bell Award for cartoons in the field of education four years in a row and several first places in the Florida Newspaper Illustrator and Cartoonists contest. He was named its Cartoonist of the Year. He also is recipient of the Ignatz Award (named for the Krazy Kat character) presented by his peers.

In his farewell column in the St. Petersburg Times, Addis said this to those who complained over the years that his work was not balanced or objective: “Objectivity is not my department. Balance is down the hall. Impartiality is another word for no reason to draw a cartoon.” He died at age 74 of lung cancer was survived by his wife Christi, three daughters and a son. His obituary in the Times gave a flavor of the man: “Though loyal to friends and family, Mr. Addis was not gregarious. While others partied though the holidays, he preferred to stay home with a book, where a welcome mat still reads ‘GO AWAY.’ He bought smelts for an egret in the neighborhood, which stalked him regularly.” (D. 2009)

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