Tom Wilson Sr., creator of Ziggy, died Sept. 16 after a long illness. He was 80 years old.
The Ziggy cartoon, which celebrates 40 years in syndication this year, will continue to be produced by Wilson's son, Tom Wilson Jr., who has handled the day-to-day operation of the panel since 1987.
Wilson served as a creative director at American Greetings for 35 years. A veteran of the licensing business, Wilson headed up the creative team that developed such character licensing blockbusters as Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears.
The Ziggy comic panel launched in 15 newspapers in June 1971. It now appears in more than 500 daily and Sunday newspapers and has been featured in best-selling books, calendars and greeting cards.
Wilson also made his mark in animation with the Emmy Award-winning special, "Ziggy's Gift," which was re-released on video in 2005.
Tom Wilson Sr. is survived by his wife Carol, son Tom Wilson Jr. and daughters Ava and Julie.