'Wee Pals' Comic Strip Creator Morris Turner Dies At 90

News & Views | Camille Travis | 01/29/2014 | 02:30 PM EST

The artist was the first Black cartoonist to be syndicated nationally

Morris "Morrie" Turner, the first Black cartoonist to be syndicated nationally, has died. He was 90.

Family spokesman David Bellard confirms the "Wee Pals" creator died peacefully at a Sacramento, Calif. hospital on Saturday (Jan. 25). He was said to be surrounded by family members when he passed away.

In 1965, Turner developed the ethnically diverse comic strip with the support of his mentor and "Peanuts" creator, Charles Schulz. The strip, which explored racial themes throughout the civil rights movement, was also known for its "Soul Corner" that highlighted historical Black figures.

Outside of the papers, Turner spent his time mentoring young people and sharing his life lessons.

"That was Morrie. Even right up until the end, he was incredibly generous with his time," said Andrew Farago, curator of the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. "Still getting excited about appearances at schools and libraries. He wanted to pass his (knowledge) on to the next generation."

In 2003, Turner was honored by the National Cartoonist Society for his outstanding work.

He is survived by his longtime partner Karol Trachtenberg, son Morrie, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Funeral services are pending.

(Photo: Signet Publishing)

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