Max J. Gwin, age 90, of Nappanee, died December 30, 2014 at 1:30 am. Who was Max Gwin? He was a son of Wilyard and Mary Ann (McGowen) Gwin. He was a devoted husband and a father of two. He served our country in the Navy during World War II. He was one of six cartoonists which called Nappanee home.
He was a graduate of Nappanee High School and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, a commercial artist, youth leader and Sunday School teacher for 40 years, and a pillar of the community. He was featured in many newspapers and his cartoon work is on display at the Nappanee Center. If you were one of the lucky ones who met him, he would have flashed one of his humble slanted smiles. His laugh was genuine and when you got him started you were in for a treat which would uplift you. Max was known for his quick wit and kind demeaner.
Max became interested in cartoons when he was a student at Nappanee High School. He began drawing his own cartoons after the war, while living in Chicago. He returned to Nappanee where he drew cartoons fulltime from 1952 – 1958, using his father’s filling station one mile south of Nappanee, at Gwin’s Corner as his office.
From 1958 to 1988, he operated the Max Gwin Advertising agency, providing commercial art for local customers such as Choretime and Brock in Milford. Max sold cartoons to over 300 publications and cartoon ideas to other magazines, such as” The New Yorker”,” The Saturday Evening Post” and “Cosmopolitan”. His longest lasting cartoon was “Slim and Spud,” which appeared in “Prairie Farmer” magazine from 1956 – 1996.
Other comic strips by Gwin were bought by trade and in-house publications. “Rolo, the Roto-Rooter Man” was used by the Roto-Rooter Company for 25 years. “Floyd’s Farm Supply” appeared in “Feed and Farm Supplier.”
Max was a member of the Nappanee United Methodist Church. He was a former member of the Nappanee Jaycees and Nappanee Rotary Club.
Max is survived by his wife of 68 years, Betty Postma Gwin, who he married Sep. 17, 1946 at her parents’, Forrest and Edna Postma, home; his daughter, Dawn Gwin (Mark) Chouinard, Franklinville, N.C.; his son, Kent (Lynne) Gwin, Elkhart; grandchildren, Christy, Alden, Dawn Bushnell; great grandchildren, Reid, Elliott, Scott Bushnell; sister, Ruth Gwin Heemstra, Elkhart and two brothers, Ross (Imogene) Gwin, Kissimee, Fla. and Gene (Frances) Gwin, Sacramento, Calif.
Arrangements were handled by Thompson-Lengacher & Yoder Funeral Home, Nappanee. The funeral took place Saturday, Jan. 3 at Nappanee United Methodist Church. Rev. Jim Davidson officiated. Military services by the Nappanee American Legion followed.
Cremation will take place and inurnment will be in Union Center Cemetery at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be given to Nappanee United Methodist Church, Nappanee Public Library, or the Nappanee Center.