Verdugo Views: Iowa-bred caricaturist drew from his roots

When Legory O’Loughlin graduated from his Iowa high school in 1920, he received an unusual graduation gift, a trip to California. While here, he was attracted by the state’s booming potential and three years later he came back to stay. ”I migrated to California where the streets were paved with gold in 1923,” he wrote in a 1984 autobiography.

“His father was disappointed, to put it mildly, that he wanted to come west,” said his son, Tom, in a recent email interview.

O’Loughlin attended the University of Southern California and found a job as a window trimmer at Woolworths. A year later, with a new job staffing the desk at the San Pedro YMCA, he went back to his hometown to marry his high school sweetheart, Mildred Mauthe, who was working as an art supervisor in the Charles City, Iowa, schools.

A 1926 YMCA newsletter profiled him thusly: "Legory hailed from Washington, Iowa that laid claim to the ‘cleanest city in the states.’ Gory must have helped to make it such, for he looks the part of a straight shooter.’’

“Even while on the farm he could hardly leave his pencil and paper long enough to feed the cows and drive the geese to water. Tho he did well in school he has to date 16,746 caricatures to his credit.”

The O’Loughlin family, including Tom and his younger sister Lois, moved to Thompson Avenue in northwest Glendale in 1940. Mildred went to work at Duncan’s Variety Store in Kenneth Village and was employed there for 38 years.

During the war, O’Loughlin worked as an inspector at Plumb Tool Company in Los Angeles. He also put his training in merchandising and public relations to work at a cartoon company (Warner Bros.), Goodwill Industries and as Director of Camarillo State Hospital.

The family joined First Baptist Church of Glendale when they first arrived, then went to Glendale Presbyterian Church in 1944.

“Gory, as his friends called him, was interested in so many aspects of life that his avocations became his joy,” his daughter, Lois O’Loughlin Johnson, wrote after his death in 1992. While his earliest interest was caricatures, he had many others, such as graphoanalysis. “He analyzed handwriting most of his adult life — to better understand people.”

O’Loughlin became heavily involved in California history, organizing a county historical society and initiating a Southern California historical symposium. He also served as president of Glendale’s historical society for several years.

“Legory grew up with a strong work ethic and always believed, like Horatio Alger, that if you start at the bottom, work hard, are honest, and do your best, you will rise to the top,” Johnson wrote.

“One of the beauties of this farm boy from Iowa was that he always remained humble and true to his roots, in spite of accomplishing more in his 90 years than most people we know. As was said of broadcaster Harry Reasoner when he died in 1991,’he was one of the few who brought the Midwest with him.’ Legory never left the loving, caring spirit of Iowa.”


Readers Write

Judy Mendicina, who has just concluded a year as president of the Oakmont League of Glendale, wrote about Oakmont League’s involvement with Foothill Club for the Blind [Verdugo Views, March 30, 2012 ]. “I found it very well done and I know you spent a great amount of time trying to find out the history of Oakmont. I shared the column at our April general meeting and plan to circulate it again. I always enjoy your articles regarding the history of our community.”

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