Longtime Toledo artist and comic-strip illustrator James E. Seed, 83, whose talent for drawing was recognized while he attended Sherman Elementary School, died Saturday.
The cause of death was not known, said his wife, Ruth Seed, adding that he suffered from pneumonia.
Mr. Seed was 13 when the larger-than-life Nativity scene he painted on the window of his eighth-grade homeroom at Sherman in 1940 received acclaim.
With his pastor's encouragement, he enrolled in an art course for illustrations and cartooning, according to a Blade account at the time, which noted that his ambition was to draw cartoon strips. He was given a waiver for his age to enroll in Federal Schools Inc.
"Drawing was pretty much everything for him," Mrs. Seed said.
He started illustrating comic strips while attending Woodward High School, working for Don Dean, creator of the comic Cranberry Boggs. "Don wrote the strip and Jim inked the rest of the strip," Mrs. Seed said.
He graduated from Woodward in 1945 and attended the University of Toledo.
In 1950, he worked with Bill Scott on a comic strip about a chaplain, but stopped when he entered Army. He served two years in Korea, Mrs. Seed said.
He met his future wife, Ruth Campbell, at a Halloween party. They married in 1963.
He remained a lifelong Toledoan, while working on comic strips for the Chicago Tribune.
Little of his professional work carried his name, his wife said. The strip Jane Arden was an exception. He also contributed to popular comic strips such as Steve Roper, Judge Parker, and Rex Morgan, MD.
In the late 1960s, he and his wife were involved Lutherans for Human Dignity, which paired black and white couples to meet in each others' homes to seek racial understanding.
From 1960 to 1965, he worked as a studio illustrator and photo retoucher. He switched to teaching illustrating in 1965 at Penta County Vocational School, but returned to commercial work two years later.
In 1977, with arthritis affecting his drawing hand, he turned back to teaching, joining Whitmer High School, where he retired in 1999. He also taught at the Toledo Museum of Art from 1976 to 1979.
He is survived by his wife, Ruth Seed; sons, Randall Seed and Jeffrey Seed; five grandchildren, and brother, Aniese Seed.
Visitation will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Monday at Foth-Dorfmeyer Funeral Home, where the funeral will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday.
The family suggests tributes to Bethany Community Fellowship.
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