Linda Walter – who co-created the Susie Q. Smith comic strip in the 1940s with then-husband Harold ‘Jerry’ Walter – will have her remains laid to rest this week. The cartoonist and illustrator had died in 2009 but without known descendants her cremated remains had been left unclaimed at a local funeral home in Upstate New York, only to be discovered by a volunteer at Wiltwyck Rural Cemetery. A memorial service and burial will take place on Thursday at the Woodstock Artists Cemetery.

A photo believed to be of Harold ‘Jerry’ Walter & Linda Walter working on Susie Q. Smith


On June 28, Wiltwyck Rural Cemetery posted to Facebook, saying:

“The Woodstock community and the artistic world at large are invited to join in a heartfelt memorial service and burial to honor the life and artistic contributions of the late illustrator Linda Walter. The talented mind behind the beloved Susie Q. Smith comic strip, Linda’s memorial service will take place on Thursday, July 6, 2023 at 1:00pm at the Woodstock Artists Cemetery. Despite the absence of known descendants, it is our sincere hope that the artistic community will come together to celebrate Linda’s remarkable life and pay tribute to her exceptional artwork.”

Wiltwyck detail how it took so long to lay the creator to rest:

“For many years, Linda’s cremated remains went unclaimed at a local funeral home and were recently delivered to the Mausoleum at Wiltwyck Cemetery in Kingston NY. In a touching discovery, the dedicated volunteer staff at Wiltwyck Cemetery uncovered information that a plot of land in the Woodstock Artists Cemetery had been reserved years ago as Linda’s final resting place. In light of this revelation, it is only fitting that Linda’s memorial service and burial be held at the place she was intended to rest eternally, surrounded by the artistic community she was an integral part of.”

Linda Walter was part of a creative team behind a number of syndicated comic strips in the mid ‘40s, before finding success with the character Susie Q. Smith. 

According to comic strip historian Allan Holtz, on his Stripper’s Guide blog:

Susie Q. Smith, whose title was often abbreviated by lazy typesetters as just Susie Q, debuted with King Features on the first day of 1945, and garnered enough clients to be considered at least a modest success. The panel about a teenage girl hit all the familiar hot buttons — dating, school, dealing with parents and siblings. What set it apart, at least slightly, was that it was unusually frank about Susie’s romantic life. Susie and her pals are often depicted in the midst of communal make-out sessions, something you’d rarely if ever see in the typically modest teenage features like Harold Teen, Aggie Mack and the like. For some reason the newspaper comics page could not rise to the level of frankness of popular movies and radio shows, and teens in the newspaper were, other than Susie, almost embarrassingly unsexual.”

The Susie Q. Smith cartoon – with a byline of “Linda and Jerry Walter” – began as a single panel strip at King Features in early 1945 before expanding into a longer form strip following a move to the McNaught Syndicate in 1953. The strip continued to run until November 28, 1959. Typically Jerry wrote the story and Linda would work on the art. Dell Comics produced a comic book edition of the title for four issues between 1951 to 1954, containing only original material. Prior to Susie Q. Smith, the pair had an earlier success with Jellybean Jones, under the shared pseudonym Frank Walter, which ran from March 1946 to January 1950.

Susie Q. Smith initially ran as a syndicated single-panel cartoon

The Susie Q. Smith strip has often been compared thematically and visually with Archie Comics, which predated the strip by a few years. Toonopedia says it was “not exactly an imitator, because Archie, who had started only four years earlier, hadn’t yet become popular enough to spawn imitators” adding that the Susie Q. Smith strip fell more into being “part of his genre.” That said, the dramatically rising popularity of Archie in the 1950s has been considered a factor in the downfall of the Susie Q. Smith strip. The Walters rebounded with a new single-panel cartoon that centered around the lives of senior citizens. The Lively Ones (also titled The Oldtimers) ran for an all-too-brief two years, from May 1965 to February 1967, initially at Newsday Specials before moving to Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate. 

Regarding Linda Walter’s own life, information is hard to come by. A post by Alex Jay on the aforementioned Stripper’s Guide blog attests to this and tracked down some details. It is believed that Linda may have been born in 1918 as Ethelynde Stimpson, and married Harold in October 1940. She was born in New Jersey but grew up around Westchester County. Census data has her working as a secretary for a welding and metal company in Cranford, New Jersey. After marriage, the pair worked for a time at an advertising agency and resided in Woodstock. Linda Walter was seemingly divorced from her creative partner Harold, who died in November 2007. His obituary mentions another wife who pre-deceased him in January of that year. Both are buried in Pine View Cemetery, Warren County, New York. Linda’s last known residence was Lake Hill, Ulster County, New York.

The memorial service and burial will take place Thursday, July 6, 2023, at 1:00 pm at the Woodstock Artists Cemetery. Contact Matthew Sirni for more information. 845-331-0199


  1. Looking over Linda’s art on google images — she was super-talented. It’s too bad she didn’t work for Archie after Susie Q. ended; her cartooning was easily as good as or better than Dan DeCarlo, Al Hartley or Stan Goldberg.

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