Pap Dean

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Preston Allen "Pap" Dean, Jr.

(Louisiana political cartoonist)​

Political party Democrat

Born August 25, 1915​
Colfax, Grant Parish
Louisiana, USA​
Died August 15, 2011 (aged 95)​
Alexandria, Louisiana
Spouse (1) Doris Maxine Dean (divorced)

(2) Jimmie Straughan Smith Dean (married 1979-2011, his death) David Allen Dean
Barbara Elizabeth Dean
John Charles Dean​
Parents:
Preston Allen, Sr., and Addie Swafford Dean
Alma mater:
​ Colfax (Louisiana) High School
Northwestern State University
Louisiana State University
Chicago Academy of Fine Arts​

Religion United Methodist

Preston Allen Dean, Jr. (August 25, 1915 – August 15, 2011), known as Pap Dean, was an American cartoonist who was employed from 1938 to 1979 as chief illustrator and editorial cartoonist[1] for The Shreveport Times in Shreveport, Louisiana.

An original inductee of the Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame, Dean beginning in 1993 prepared a caricature for the exhibit of each honoree[2] in the museum, which is located in a former railroad depot in downtown Winnfield.[3]

Background

Dean was born in Colfax in Grant Parish, Louisiana, to P. A. Dean, Sr. (1881-945), and the former Addie Swafford (1888–1978) in Colfax in Grant Parish in north central Louisiana. He received his nickname from teasing classmates in grade school. When he was in his early teens, Dean enrolled in the Landon School of Cartooning in Chicago. C. H. Landon apparently saw such promise in young Dean that he gave him considerable personal instruction.[4]

While in high school his father gave him a portion of land on which to grow cotton. When the crop was sold, the money was deposited in a bank account for Dean's college education. He graduated from Colfax High School in 1932, and enrolled at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, then known as Louisiana Normal. However, the bank in Colfax failed, as the Great Depression swept the nation, and Dean lost his uninsured college funds.

Influence of Huey Long

A devotee of Louisiana politics, Dean recalled that Huey Pierce Long, Jr., once bought him a hamburger while they were on the train from Baton Rouge to Nashville, Tennessee, to watch the Louisiana State University Tigers play football.[4]

Meanwhile, the still hopeful Dean heard Governor Huey Long speak in Colfax while running for the United States Senate seat held by the respected Joseph Eugene Ransdell (1858-1954). Dean wrote Long and told him of his own plight regarding the loss of the college funds. A month later, a local banker sent Dean to Baton Rouge to see LSU President James Monroe Smith, Sr. (1888-1949), later convicted in the statewide scandals of 1939 known as the "Louisiana Hayride," an identical term to the Shreveport-based Country music program, the Louisiana Hayride. Long had asked Smith to offer Dean financial aid and entry into LSU.[4] By working three jobs in the meantime, Dean obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1937 in political science.[4][5]

After LSU, Dean enrolled in the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and then joined the staff of The Shreveport Times. He was married to the former Doris Moore and had three children. His tenure there was interrupted by three and one-half years in the United States Army, beginning in 1942. He landed with an anti-aircraft battalion at Omaha Beach on D-Day, received a battlefield commission, and was promoted ultimately to the rank of lieutenant colonel.[4][5]

Cartoonist and author

After LSU, Dean enrolled in the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and then joined the staff of The Shreveport Times. He was married to the former Doris Moore and had three children. His tenure there was interrupted by three and one-half years in the United States Army, beginning in 1942. He landed with an anti-aircraft battalion at Omaha Beach on D-Day, received a battlefield commission, and was promoted ultimately to the rank of lieutenant colonel.[4][5]

Dean’s studio was filled with sketches and caricatures of other cartoonists, including Al Capp, the creator of Li'l Abner. and William Henry "Bill" Mauldin (1921-2003), whose “Up Front” appeared in The Stars and Stripes military newspaper during the war. Jeff MacNelly, Pulitzer Prize winner of the Chicago Tribune, patterned his style after Mauldin and later honored Dean with a caricature of Dean himself.[4]​ ​ Dean has published some of his drawings in Louisiana Historical Homesteads and wrote a history of Louisiana and a separate volume in 2005 on Natchitoches, the oldest settlement in the former Louisiana Purchase. Entitled Historic Natchitoches: Beauty of the Cane, the book is a study of the history, people, and attractions of the city. On April 13, 2006, Dean wrote a column in The Alexandria Town Talk discussing the origin of the names of the various communities.[6][5]

Dean was divorced from his first wife, Doris Maxine Dean. After his newspaper tenure, Dean and his second wife, Jimmie Straughan Smith Dean (1919–2005), retired to rural Baghdad near Colfax, known particularly as the home of the Louisiana Pecan Festival. He continued thereafter to practice his craft at his own pace through the River Oaks Studio in downtown Alexandria, some twenty-five miles south of Colfax.​ ​ Dean died ten days before his 96th birthday in an Alexandria hospital. His former Shreveport Times colleague, Wiley Hilburn, said that the newspaper office "sort of revolved around Pap. He had a big desk, light table, in the middle of the newsroom. He was a really likable guy. ... He was really good at what he did, and we all grew to rely on him."[1]​ ​ Dean's paternal aunt, Willie Mae Cleveland (1903-1973) of Crowley,[7] was the first wife of William Jennings "Bill" Cleveland, Sr. (1902-1974), a member from 1944 to 1964 of both houses, respectively, of the Louisiana state legislature from Acadia Parish. Cleveland's political career ended in defeat in his bid for a third term in 1964 in the Louisiana State Senate at the hands of fellow Democrat Edwin Edwards. ​ On his death at the age of ninety-five in Alexandria, Dean donated his body to medical science.[1] A memorial service was held at the Colfax United Methodist Church on September 10, 2011.​ ​

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Longtime political cartoonist 'Pap' Dean dies at age of 95 in Alexandria. The Alexandria Daily Town Talk (August 18, 2011). Retrieved on August 18, 2011; no longer on-line.
  2. Notable People from Grant Parish. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on August 31, 2009; no longer on-line.
  3. Louisiana Political Museum and Hall of Fame. City of Winnfield, Louisiana. Retrieved on August 31, 2009; no longer on-line.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Jack M. Willis (June 26, 2009). Pap Dean marks lifetime or art and politics: Art career started with sketching from comic characters in first grade at Colfax Art career started school. thepineywoods.com. Retrieved on August 31, 2009; no longer on-line.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Preston Allen "Pap" Dean, Jr. obituary. Findagrave.com. Retrieved on October 31, 2019.
  6. What makes Grant Parish special for Pap Dean. The AlexandriaTown Talk (April 13, 2006). Retrieved on September 1, 2009; no longer on-line.
  7. Willie Mae Dean Cleveland. findagrave.com. Retrieved on October 31, 2019.

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