COMBES, WILLARD WETMORE (23 Dec. 1901-17 Jan. 1984) balanced dual careers as teacher at the Cleveland School of Art (see CLEVELAND INSTITUTE OF ART) and editorial cartoonist for the CLEVELAND PRESS. A lifelong Clevelander, he had already won an art contest in the Press for his caricature of JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER† before his graduation from Glenville High. Upon graduation from the Cleveland School of Art in 1924, he completed a European tour before joining the CSA faculty and becoming head of the Department of Illustration. He remained on that faculty for 22 years, during which time he also taught 10 years (1926-36) at the Western Reserve University School of Architecture (see CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY). When none of his students was able to satisfy the requirements of the Cleveland Press for a new cartoonist in 1934, Combes himself took the job at the urging of the "dean" of Cleveland artists, HENRY KELLER†. Combes specialized in local and state issues during his 28 years as Press cartoonist, since the Scripps-Howard chain generally supplied the paper with national cartoons. He won a Pulitzer Prize honorable mention in 1938 for a cartoon on a cemetery lot racket. Also known as a portraitist, Combes served 2 terms as president of the CLEVELAND SOCIETY OF ARTISTS. He executed murals for such local institutions as Lutheran High School East and St. Luke's Church in LAKEWOOD and in 1953 started his own stained glass business. Married twice, to (1) Vivian C. Kepler and (2) Mary Jean McCready Bissett. he was survived by 4 children.
Last Modified: 14 Jul 1997 04:28:04 PM
Feingold, Rachel G. (ed.). Provocative Pens: Four Cleveland Cartoonists, 1900-1975 (1992).
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