Unfortunately this time I have some very sad news to pass along….MSCA prez Kevin Williams has informed me that longtime National Cartoonists Society member and friend of the MSCA , John Lotshaw, has passed away while visiting family in South Carolina for Thanksgiving.
John was a familiar face at the NCS events I got to attend, including the NCS’s Annual Rueben’s Awards meeting her at St. Jude, the Southeast Chapter of The National Cartoonists Society‘s meeting here at the U of M, and their meetings in Gainesville and Nashville. He could be seen working the A/V equipment and/or recording the events, and was a champion of cartooning and other cartoonists. His cartooning collogues and friends in Atlanta had just given him a Bon Voyage sendoff party only days before his passing.
While looking at his Facebook page today, I realized John was 6 days younger than me. These days I may feel old and my grey hair makes me look old, but 56 is way too young to die.
The MSCA and SEC/NCS having dinner at The Rendezvous in Memphis, 2005.
From MSCA President, Kevin L. Williams–
I will always have a fond memory of John Lotshaw. He was fun and funny, and I enjoyed talking Peanuts with him. Not news I expected to see today, but I’m thankful to have made his acquaintance.
From NCS Membership Chairman and former MSCA President, Greg Cravens–
There once was a man who was diligent, educated, fun, silly, scattered, and knew about how to do the kinds of things that tied up the loose ends that cartoonists usually leave hanging. His name was John. His initials were JPL and that was good, since he wore a jacket that sported more NASA patches than you knew existed, and he could tell you all about all the missions they represented. He gleefully created cartoons, and video, and printed books, and internet content- mostly for other cartoonists, and he rarely charged us enough for the value he created. He also chased several projects ‘round and ‘round that cost him time and energy… just like most of us do, I guess. But on top of that, he coded computers- lots of them. He had a collection of computers that stretched back to Texas Instrument equipment his father insisted that John learn to code for before he’d be allowed to “play with it”. John made other cartoonists’ projects sing and dance, and left himself very little time to make his own projects sing and dance. A lot of us owe him a lot.
John built a career, which included plenty of television production early on- and he owned his own production company at one point. He freelanced all kinds of projects to do with video and audio. He created a webcomic called ‘Accidental Centaurs’. He published books under the business name ‘Moonbase Press’, and would happily help you to do the same if he thought you didn’t need him doing it all for you. He was generous to a fault like that.
He lived in Atlanta (or at least in the insane sprawl that’s centered on Atlanta) and he knew more trivia about Star Trek, Science Fiction in general, and Television at large than people could keep up with. He had just started (finally) dabbling in a stand-up comedy career, and that’s good. His weight was the subject of some of his humor, and that’s to be expected. His weight was also the subject of a lot of his friends’ concern about him. But lately, we were worried because one of his beloved Shelty dogs had passed away, then his mother passed away, and then of course he had to deal with selling her house and getting all that in order. On the other hand, he’d landed a regular job that played to his strengths, and even though he said it’d still leave him time to pursue all the projects his friends and clients needed him to pursue, we knew it’d give him a chance to let some of the more irritating small jobs slip past him now. So things were looking up. He was moving to a new town to do the kind of work he was trained to do best for a good yearly pay that was probably half of what he would be worth to the company- which is AT&T, in case you’re wondering.
Yep. There once was that man. And now, just before he moved, and just before he began his new job, and just before he did a little more stand-up, and just before he volunteered to run AV for the National Cartoonists Society or it’s Southeastern Chapter again… he’s gone. My friend has gone to where deadlines, and the vagaries of the business climate, and the Sisyphean uphill struggle of the cartooning industry are not an issue.
He was John Lotshaw, and he made the world a better place for those of us who knew him. It would have been better still for us if he could have stayed longer.
From his sister, Ana–
Many of you have heard but others not of the unexpectedly passing of my brother John yesterday as he was spending the Thanksgiving holiday with me in Greenville SC. Thanks to everyone for your kind messages and calls during this very painful time, your thoughts, prayers and wonderful memories are comforting. Time can be cruel to end friendships deepening as we grew older and all the new chapters and experiences waiting for him just around the corner but, I know he is at peace in heaven and once gain reunited with our parents and family who have gone on before.
There are no specific arrangements as of yet but I will update this page when we work out a way to honor the life of my brother until then…
When NASA does something spectacular.. think of John
When you hear Star Trek trivia… think of John
When you pass the Varsity or your favorite BBQ.. think of John
When you see your favorite cartoon strip.. think of John
When you hear a wacky joke… think of John
John. I love and miss you more than you will ever know. Give Mom and Dad a big hug for me and don’t worry I will love and take good care of your Jessie.
Love ya- Ana
On the worst Thursday ever, an experimental teleporter under development by Alex and Sam explodes, opening a wormhole that propels them into an alternate dimension and transforming them into creatures of legend. Then, things really start to get weird…
John Lotshaw (back center) at the SEC/NCS fall meeting in Nashville, 2012.
Roy Doty (L) and John Lotshaw (R) in Memphis, 2005.