The Family Circus

In 1960 a cartoonist by the name of William Aloysius Keane began a newspaper comic strip.  Today The Family Circus is the most syndicated comic strip.

Bil Keane

Mr. Keane was born October 5, 1922 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He served in the US Army during World War II.

While stationed in Australia, he fell in love with Thelma “Thel” Carne. They worked in the US War Bonds Office in Brisbane.  She was hired as an accountant and ended up with a desk next to Mr. Keane.  They were married in 1948.

Bil Keane, his professional moniker, based The Family Circus on Thelma and their five children.  Thelma was the ever patient and loving mommy in the comic strip.

Thelma ran the business while Bil drew his comic.  Like many who are aging on this planet, the gorgeous, long brown-haired gal who grew up in the Amamoor Forest Reserve was robbed of her beautiful mind by Alzheimer’s.  She passed to her peaceful rest on May 23, 2008. She was 82 ( born March 15, 1926 ).

Bil Keane died November 8 of congestive heart failure at his home in Paradise Valley, Arizona. His family was there in his final weeks.

Bil’s legacy will live on in his family and his characters—PJ, Billy, Dolly and Jeffy as well as their patient parents and feisty pets—Kittycat and the two dogs, Barfy and Sam. This is a great legacy to leave on this planet traversing the cosmos.

Bil Keane:

We are, in the comics, the last frontier of good, wholesome family humor and entertainment.  On radio and television, magazines and the movies, you can’t tell what you’re going to get. When you look at the comic page, you can usually depend on something acceptable by the entire family.”

Jeff Keane, his son who continues to draw The Family Circus:

He was just our dad. The great thing about him is he worked at home, we got to see him all the time, and we would all sit down and have dinner together. What you see in the `Family Circus’ is what we were and what we still are, just different generations.”


G. D. Williams       © 2011

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