John “Jack” Lindstrom

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Obit: Jack Lindstrom, accomplished cartoonist and illustrator

  • Article by: JIM BUCHTA
  • Star Tribune
  • April 20, 2012 - 7:56 PM

John "Jack" Lindstrom was an accomplished cartoonist and illustrator who co-authored a syndicated comic strip about a pudgy and ill-equipped CEO at a company called U.S. Tech and Tool, but the character was far from autobiographical.

"Jack never wanted to be CEO of anything," said his wife, Jackie. "He just wanted to make people laugh, and to affirm people."

Lindstrom also had a passion for storytelling, whether helping businesses communicate with their customers, or inspiring a giggle with his own greeting card line. Lindstrom, who died April 11 at age 76 at his home in Fridley, illustrated several books and articles, and even used his drawing skills to tell his own story. Two years ago, he completed a 39-page book that he made for his children and grandchildren. The book, shared with family and only a handful of friends, uses words and caricatures to tell "what it was like as a skinney kid with a big nose" growing up in the 1940s and 1950s.

There were the nights when he'd sit upstairs in his house in south Minneapolis listening to Saturday night jam sessions with his grandpa on the cornet.

There was that snowy January day when a plane clipped a water tower and crashed into his neighborhood.

And there was the summer of 1945 when he and his dad rode a cold train with a pot-belly heater cross-country to Washington, D.C.

The book also tells the story of a man who by all accounts had few regrets. His biggest disappointment was never learning to fly an airplane. The panel shows a skinny kid staring at the sky, saying, "To this day whenever I hear the roar of one of these man-made birds in the sky, I stop what I'm doing to marvel at these creatures."

Lindstrom graduated from Washburn High School where he met his wife, Jackie. He was a graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and worked for decades with some of the leading advertising and marketing firms in the Twin Cities, using his drawing and cartooning skills to translate difficult concepts into easy-to-understand drawings and cartoons.

His parents divorced when he was young, and his aunts and uncles used to take him to dance halls. They'd park him in a booth with a pen and pad of paper, and he'd wile away the night drawing caricatures of the dancers.

For many years, Lindstrom owned his own graphic design company, F.A.B. Artists, where he worked with companies around the Twin Cities.

"He could take a concept and translate it into a message in his own way," said Paul Harmon, an advertising and marketing executive who met Lindstrom in 1970. Harmon worked with Lindstrom for decades, but, he said, their friendship was more important.

Lindstrom was an eclectic man "with a memory that you wouldn't believe," Harmon said, but his passion for his family transcended everything. "He would stop anything to be with his family," Harmon said.

In addition to his wife, Lindstrom is survived by children John David and Jan M. Lindstrom; grandchildren Jessica, Jennifer and John Michael; great-grandson Jake; sister Carol Gwinn and brother James A. Clymer; brother-in-law David Heinen. Services have been held.

Jim Buchta • 612-673-7376

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