Cartoonist Emil Samuel Zekley, best known as Zeke Zekley, died on April 28 at his home in Beverly Hills following a long bout with illness. The artist lent his talents to the strips Bringing Up Father, Maggie and Jiggs, Peachy Keen and Dud Dudley, as well as McDonaldland for fast-food chain McDonalds, The Squirrel’s Club Magazine for Glendale Federal Savings and At Ease magazine for the U.S. Army.
Chicago-born Zekley was raised in Detroit, Michigan, where he got his start as a cartoonist before moving to Los Angeles. His big break came in 1935 when he was hired as an assistant to George McManus on Bringing Up Father. Starting as an inker, Zekley spent a number of years with McManus, eventually becoming a creative collaborator on the strip. When McManus died in 1954, Zekley went on to work on a number of cartoons before opening his own service shop, Sponsored Comics.
Zekley is survived by his wife of more than 65 years, Anita; his daughter, Casey Sater; and a number of grandchildren, a great granddaughter, several step children, nieces and nephews. His son, Gary Zekley, died in 1996.
Services will be held at Hillside Memorial Park at 3 p.m. on Monday, May 2. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Cedars Sinai Cardiac Care Unit, Eleanor Arthur Ellis Eye Institute or Maple Counseling Center in Beverly Hills.