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Bil Keane, creator of the much-mocked “Family Circus” comic panel appearing in 1,500 newspapers across the country, died Tuesday of congestive heart failure at home in Paradise Valley, Arizona. He was 89. His five children, nine grandchildren, and great-granddaughter were all able to say goodbye before the end. Keane started drawing the one-panel cartoon featuring Billy, Jeffy, Dolly, PJ, their parents, dogs Barfy and Sam, and the cat Kittycat in February, 1960. “It was a different type of comic,” said Keane’s son Jeff, who took over the “Circus” a few years ago, “and I think that was my dad’s genius — creating something that people could really relate to and wasn’t necessarily meant to get a laugh. It was more of a warm feeling or a lump in the throat.” Good to know; we always thought we weren’t getting the joke.


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