Saturday, May 28, 2005

Obituary: Don Trachte - Class of 1933

MANCHESTER, VT. - Don Trachte, age 89, a long time resident of Sandgate, Vermont, died at the Equinox Terrace in Manchester on May 4, 2005. Don was born in Madison on May 21, 1915, the son of the late Arthur Fredrick and Meta Trachte. Mr. Trachte graduated from Madison's Central High School, attended the University of Wisconsin and later served in World War II as a lieutenant in the Army. In his formative years in Madison, Trachte's interest in art and drawing led him to collaborate with the late Carl Anderson, the creator of the cartoon strip "Henry." The first cartoon was submitted to the "Saturday Evening Post" in March of 1932, and quickly skyrocketed "Henry" to fame. Soon after, the cartoon strip was sought out by William Randolph Hearst for syndication and grew to appear in 400 newspapers in 40 countries. While drawing, he spent countless hours traveling for the USO in Europe, Alaska, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines, where he entertained troops. In 1950, Trachte moved his family to Arlington, Vt., in part because he knew the late Norman Rockwell, a man he greatly admired, lived there. Arlington provided a comfortable surrounding with famous artists who inspired him to paint as well as continue his cartoon work. He established a close relationship with Rockwell and posed for him several times. The most recognized "Post" cover, Trachte was the principal in "Outside the Principal's Office." Trachte was active with other local painters and became a committee member of the Southern Vermont Art Center. The peaceful Arlington area helped nurture Trachte's diverse interest in amateur theater, gardening, building stone walls, photography, repairing parlor organs and running his pet baby bulldozer. He is survived by four children, a daughter, Marjorie Rosenberg of Locust Valley, N.Y., Donald Trachte, Jr. of Burlington, David Trachte of Sandgate and Jon Trachte of Houston, Texas; and a brother, David Trachte of Saint Joseph, Mo. A private memorial service is planned at a later date. To send the Trachte family email condolences, visit Funeral arrangements are under the care of Brewster Funeral Service in Manchester, Vt.

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on May 29, 2005

Note: Don Trachte's graduation year is based on information in the 1933 Orange and Black, the yearbook published by The Madison Mirror that replaced the Tychoberahn during the 1930s.

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