Sid Couchey, in 2003, with cartoons of the three "bad guys," featured in a comic book about local western star Tom Tyler. Couchey passed away Sunday, March 11.
Sid Couchey, creator of characters Richie Rich, Little Dot, Little Lotta, and Rascal the Raccoon, passed away Sunday, March 11.
Couchey, 92, was spending the winter in Inman, S.C., and passed peacefully, according to his wife, Ruth.
In February, Sid was diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma. The aggressive cancer took hold quickly and Sid passed away. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Ruth, their two children and many grandchildren.
Reaction came from throughout the region of the cartoonist’s passing.
“I had just sent him a card the other day, so I am really sorry to hear that he is gone,” said Ticonderoga cartoonist Stan Burdick. Burdick credited Couchey with helping him launch the former cartoon museum in Ticonderoga.
“It’s hard to put into words what I feel right now,” he said.
“He brought a lot of joy to a whole lot of people,” Cal Castine of Hometown Cable, who collaborated on a set of cartoon books celebrating local actor Tom Tyler, said. “His loss will leave a void in a lot of lives. He was deeply religious, and I am sure that the first thing he heard in heaven was, ‘well done, good and faithful servant.’”
First pitch hall of fame
Castine said he got to know Couchey at first through his work with Hometown Cable.
“Gordy Little and I did an interview with him back in 1997 or 98,” Castine said. “We did a couple of stories on him, and I learned that he was a Cleveland Indians fan. When they were coming to play the Montreal Expos for the first time in 2002, I was doing reporting up there. I asked the team about it, and they just jumped on it.”
Couchey threw out the first pitch of the June 21 game between the two teams. He then created the First Pitch Hall of Fame in Essex.
“We were friends ever since,” Castine said.
Shortly after, Castine got Couchey and the late Arto Monaco to help him create a comic book in honor of western star Tom Tyler.
“This book stirred up a lot of interesting memories in the older generation,” Couchey said in 2004. “The essence of working on something with Arto is something that I had wanted to do for a long time. When Cal came along and presented me with the opportunity, I jumped on it.”
Helped with museum
“The first word that comes to my mind is generous,” Burdick said. “He helped us so much when we opened the museum first in Hague and then in Ti. He was one of the first guys I met when I came here, and he would always come down and donate original pieces or do a class for kids about the art.”
Burdick said he would miss Couchey as a friend and artist.
“His was an excellent talent,” Burdick said. “He will be missed by everyone in the cartoon world. He was not just a local star, but a national treasure.”
‘A lot of fun’
Katherine Cross met Couchey when she was 14 and the two of them went to school together.
“He was a lot of fun,” she said. “Kind of a scamp - full of fun and always doing things. He even did a little drawing back then.”
Cross said he was very active in church even at a young age, being a leader of the youth group High Adventurers.
“He has always been a wonderful Christian man,” Cross said. “He was a person who never spoke anything bad about anyone. He always had something good to do and he was always willing to share his art. If there was an event at church and we needed a picture, he would make it.”
Cross said that he was always thinking about ways to help his community.
“He is somebody we will miss and we will all love,” she said. “I really don’t know if anyone could have had a better friend.”
Bruce Klink said that he met Couchey when he first came to town about 12 years ago.
“I go to the DNC (Do Nothin Club), and he was the elder statesmen there,” Klink said. “He was a good friend and he had a continuous sense of humor. He always livened the proceedings up.”
Klink also described Couchey as church and community-minded, willing to help out wherever he could.
“He was someone you could always count on,” Klink said. “He never thought about the monetary returns when he would do a project for someone, which I always found fascinating.”