James Sizemore, cartoonist and retired Social Security worker

James E. “Jim” Sizemore, a retired Social Security Administration art department worker and cartoonist, died of lung cancer Sept. 24 at Gilchrist Center Towson. He was 80 and lived in South Baltimore.

Born in Covington, Va., and raised in Front Royal and Baltimore, he was the son of Floyd Sizemore and his wife, Lucy. He attended city public schools.

“The family lived in South Baltimore, and some of Jim’s fondest memories were of his childhood adventures in the big city, and of the sights and tastes of Cross Street Market,” said his longtime friend, Jo-Ann Pilardi of Baltimore. “Jim remained especially fond of the city life of South Baltimore, but Fort McHenry was his special love. For many years, he was a daily presence at the Fort as he did his 4-mile fitness walk.”

Mr. Sizemore joined the Army and volunteered in a Special Forces unit. He was trained as a paratrooper and was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C.

He then joined the Social Security Administration as a clerk, and later pursued art. He obtained a cartooning certificate from the Famous Artists Correspondence School and also received a painting certificate from the Maryland Institute College of Art.

He became a visual information specialist at the Social Security center in Woodlawn where he worked for 23 years until his 1988 retirement. He then became a freelance cartoonist.

He belonged to the National Cartoonists Society and placed his work in the CartoonStock collection, a London-based cartoon library and database. His work appeared in The Baltimore Sun, Wall Street Journal, TV Guide and the Saturday Evening Post.

“Our dad was a complex man. He had a wide spectrum of people he associated with and was comfortable in whatever setting,” said his son, Shawn Sizemore of Atglen, Pa. “He was largely self taught and a voracious reader.”

Mr. Sizemore wrote plays, and had three produced in the Baltimore Playwrights Festival. He also designed posters for the Fells Point Corner Theater, among other theatrical groups.

He also developed an educational program, “Cartooning for Kids,” and gave presentations to school-aged children in and around Maryland. His first presentation was at the Enoch Pratt Free Library’s Waverly branch.

“He shared his ‘how-to’ cartoon ideas with thousands of schoolchildren,” Ms. Pilardi said. “He also gave occasional lectures on cartooning at local colleges and museums. Jim loved artistic work of all kinds, and encouraged it in others.”

She said that in recent years he published “Doodlemeister’s Weblog,” an online mix of creative writing, photography and his cartoons.

He was a swing dancer, and also enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. His granddaughter Samantha Sizemore said: “He was my teacher, my cheerleader, my guide and my backbone, a stable foot on the ground when I couldn’t think clearly. He made me see the bigger picture.”

A memorial service will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Charles L. Stevens Funeral Home, 1501 E. Fort Ave.

In addition to his son, survivors include another son, Vincent Sizemore of Baltimore; two other grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. A marriage ended in divorce.

—Jacques Kelly

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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