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Jerry Wayne Bittle
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Birth: Oct. 8, 1949
Heber Springs
Cleburne County
Arkansas, USA
Death: Apr. 7, 2003, Honduras

Jerry Wayne Bittle
08 October 1949 - 07 April 2003

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Creator of 'Geech' comic strip

In the fall of 1981, Jerry Bittle came up with a comic strip on a dare from a friend.

He submitted his idea to Universal Press Syndicate, which accepted the proposal in a week's time.

For the last 21 years, newspaper readers have enjoyed Mr. Bittle's humorous view of life in a small town in his Geech cartoon strip, as well as his newer creation Shirley & Son.

Mr. Bittle, 53, died Monday of a heart attack while scuba diving in Honduras.

A memorial service will be at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at First United Methodist Church in Richardson, 534 Belt Line Road. Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow Funeral Directors in McKinney.

He will be buried in Ridgeview Memorial Park in Allen.

"He was always funny, cracking jokes," said his daughter Jordan Bittle of San Antonio. "He was very quick-witted."

Born in Heber Springs, Ark., Mr. Bittle grew up in Wichita, Kan., where he graduated from high school. He attended Wichita State University but took a job as a staff artist with The Wichita Eagle, where he became interested in drawing editorial cartoons.

In 1975, he moved to Albuquerque, N.M., where he was an editorial cartoonist for three years before moving to Dallas to be a freelance illustrator.

Geech started as kind of a dare from a friend, his daughter said. The challenge was to come up with a comic strip in six weeks.

"He came up with the idea and pitched it," she said. "Universal picked it up."

Geech was originally called Crude, a reference to oilfield workers. It became Geech for a more universal small-town appeal.

"I get a lot of mail from different parts of the country telling me, 'I grew up in that town, and I know those people,'" Mr. Bittle said on his syndicate's Web site. "And all this time I thought I was the one who grew up in that town and knew those people."

In 2000, he started Shirley & Son, which is about life after divorce.

Geech is distributed by United Feature Syndicate, a division of United Media. Geech is syndicated in 175 newspapers, while Shirley & Son appears in 75 papers. Both strips appear in The Dallas Morning News.

Mr. Bittle's family is discussing the future of the strips with his syndicate.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Bittle is survived by his wife, Trisha Bittle of Richardson; two other daughters, Carrie Bittle of Norman, Okla., and Abby Bittle of Richardson; and his parents, Bill and Virginia Bittle of Wichita.

Memorials may be made to the Jerry Bittle Educational Trust for his daughter's college education at P.O. Box 832271, Richardson, Texas 75083.


Dallas Morning News, The (TX)
Date: April 11, 2003
Edition: SECOND
Page: 9B

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Note: The lead into the obit, has his surname spelled wrong, Brittle instead of Bittle.

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Jerry Brittle - 'Geech 'cartoonist died April 7

Why was the comic strip " Geech " dropped from the American Press?

" Geech " was dropped because the creator, cartoonist Jerry Brittle, died suddenly April 7. Here is his obituary:

NEW YORK, April 9 Jerry Bittle, age 53, creator of two popular syndicated comic strips, Shirley & Son and Geech, for United Feature Syndicate, died April 7 of a heart attack while on a trip to Honduras.

Shirley & Son, a thoughtful look at life after divorce, appeared in 75 newspapers worldwide. Geech, a humorous look at life in a small town, appeared in more than 175 newspapers.

" It's a rarity for a cartoonist to create one great comic strip, and it is even more rare to work with someone who can masterfully handle two, " said Lisa Klem Wilson, Vice President and General Manager of United Media's two syndicates. " Jerry was a true professional and a wonderful man. He will be greatly missed. "

" Jerry found humor in the parts of our lives that we often overlook, " said Jake Morrissey, United's Managing Editor, Comics. " He understood there's rich humor to be mined in exploring the small, honest moments of everyday life. "

An artist since childhood, Bittle joined the ranks of professional artists with a job as a staff artist for the Wichita Eagle after graduating from Wichita State University. Bittle left Wichita to become the first editorial cartoonist for the Albuquerque Tribune. He later moved to Dallas where he created Geech in 1982. Bittle began Shirley & Son in 2000.

In addition to cartooning, Bittle was also a successful freelance illustrator who worked on regional and national advertising accounts.

He is the author of several book collections and the writer of " Geech... The Moosical " with music by Angelo Badalamenti.

He grew up in Wichita, Kansas, and lived with his family near Dallas. He is survived by his wife, Trish, and three daughters.

The family has created The Jerry Bittle Educational Trust in his memory for his daughters 'college education. Donations can be sent to P. O. Box 832271, Richardson, Texas 75083.

American Press (Lake Charles, LA)
Date: May 7, 2003
Page: 9


Family links: 
  Shelby Bittle (1922 - 2011)
  Edith Virginia Cunningham Bittle (1931 - 2011)
Ridgeview Memorial Park
Collin County
Texas, USA
Plot: Garden of Time
Maintained by: Orlena
Originally Created by: Judy Hickman Smith
Record added: Nov 06, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 43988841
Jerry Wayne Bittle
Added by: Orlena
Jerry Wayne Bittle
Added by: Judy Hickman Smith
Jerry Wayne Bittle
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Nichole Cisnero
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- bob tarte
 Added: Apr. 9, 2014
I love reading your "Shirley and Son" comic strip, it is so thoughtful and sometimes gently poignant.......thank you for sharing your talent with us all....Rest in Peace.
- Jani
 Added: May. 16, 2012

- Tymesdone
 Added: Dec. 30, 2011

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