Jim Zilverberg, a commercial artist whose agriculture-themed cartoons appeared in scores of magazines and newspapers in the United States and in 35 countries, died of cancer March 31 at Meridian Manor in Wayzata. He was 90.
Dubbed as the "Dean of Farm Cartoonists," his work was featured in such publications as the Star Tribune, Outdoor News and Sports Afield, and for more than 25 years was featured in the "Ol' Red Barn" calendars distributed through the Vernon Company based in Newton, Iowa.
He also created the Minnesota State Fair's gopher mascot, Fairborne, drew political cartoons and designed the pig and piggy bank logo for the former Penny's chain of supermarkets. One of his best friends was Charles Schulz, creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip, said Zilverberg's son, Larry, of Medina.
Jim Zilverberg graduated from Aberdeen State Teachers College in the late 1930s. After a few years as a teacher, he moved to Minneapolis and started his career as a commercial artist even though he had no formal training.
Zilverberg's father had been a painter in Holland, and the "talent was just passed on," Larry said.
Services have been held.