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Gerald L. Holmes, ‘Hank the Cowdog’ Illustrator, Passes Away

KSCB News - October 4, 2019 12:00 pm

By Spring Sault

On Thursday, September 26, 2019, John R. Erickson posted to the official blog for “Hank the Cowdog” letting fans know that Gerald Holmes, the illustrator for 74 “Hank the Cowdog” books, has passed away. Holmes was known to “put faces on Hank, Drover, Sally May, Slim and all the other characters” which children throughout Texas and beyond came to know and love. For legions of fans, he helped craft a beloved part of their childhood.

Erickson wrote of his fondness for the work that the artist contributed to his projects, including the illustration of some of his earlier works in 1978. Holmes was his work companion for more than four decades. Noting the man’s extreme passion, talent, and focus on big dreams, Erickson went on to describe the artist as never having told Erickson what to write as, in turn, Erickson never told him what to draw, and that he never missed a deadline. He found ways to take his art into schools, hospitals, and home. Erickson spoke with kindness, stating that Holmes “did with art what I hoped to do with the written word: deliver the blessing of innocent laughter.” Because of the illustrations that Holmes produced, kids everywhere were able to visualize the actions and lessons that the “Hank the Cowdog” series worked to impart. Over the 41 years that Erickson and Holmes worked together, the drawings that were produced have created some strong memories for children, as well as parents, and his body of work will live on, well after he’s passed.

Gerald L. Holmes passed away in Amarillo, Texas, at the age of 79 on September 23, 2019. He was born in Hobart, Oklahoma, on July 17, 1940. As an artist, he was accomplished and well-respected. His other passions consisted of hunting and fishing. He is survived by Carol, his wife, of Perryton, Texas, as well as his two sons, a sister, and two grandsons.


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