Charlie Daniel’s reluctant retirement party

Retired News Sentinel Executive Editor Jack McElroy, left, and editorial cartoonist, Charlie Daniel.

Former News Sentinel editorial cartoonist Charlie Daniel has so many friends that his retirement party on Sunday had to be divided into two shifts! We were in the early shift: 1:30 to 3:30. Another group came from 3:30 to 5:30.

For his part, Charlie was nonplussed, of course. “No speeches,” he said, as folks called for him to make remarks after he was presented with proclamations by U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett and Jane Chedester of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander’s office.

Burchett got the biggest laugh when he gave Daniel a flag that he said “allegedly” had flown over the Capitol!

“I think they just put cartons of flags on a plane and then the plane flies over the Capitol,” Burchett joked. “That way, all those flags have flown over the Capitol!”

The party was at the new Farragut condo of Steve and Lin Oglesby, longtime friends of Charlie and Patsy Daniel. Unlike many retirement parties, this one was not at all raucous and joyous. It was sedate and almost sad.

U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, right, gives Charlie a flag that may have flown over the U.S. Capitol.

That’s because Charlie did not want to retire.

He always said he’d die at his drawing board at the newspaper. At age 89, Charlie has worked at one of the Knoxville papers for more than 61 years, first at the Knoxville Journal, where I became his friend, and later at the News Sentinel, after The Journal folded.

The occasion of his retirement was the announcement by Gannett, the corporate overlord of the News Sentinel, that Daniel’s position was being eliminated. This after he had declined to take a buyout offer.

Charlie admits that he doesn’t know what he will do in retirement. “I don’t have any hobbies,” he confided. Patsy says the two will do some traveling in the near future. But, like Charlie, she seems a little uneasy about what exactly this forced retirement will look like.

I’ll tell you one thing, though. The paper looks a lot worse without Charlie’s daily dose of gentle humor and the Sunday installments of his “Rosy’s Diner.” Even the targets of his barbs are sad that he is gone.

“I’ve been made fun of by people all over the world,” Burchett shared. “And Charlie is my favorite.”

On a lighter note, click here to read how flags actually are flown over the Capitol.

Lin and Steve Oglesby, hosts of the retirement party.

From left, Alan Carmichael, Charlie and Patsy Daniel, Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch, and Leslie and Barry Henderson.

Doris and former Knoxville Vice Mayor Jack Sharp. (I always jokingly called him “the mayor of vice.”)

Margi and University of Tennessee Chancellor Emeritus Bill Snyder.

Former News Sentinel Publisher Patrick Birmingham, center, with Mary Ann and Sam Venable.

Jane Chedester from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander’s office, hands over a photo of Alexander reading a proclamation about Daniel into the Congressional Record.

Congressman Burchett shares a laugh with Charlie.

Edie and Gil Volk.

From left, Knoxville Symphony Resident Conductor James Fellenbaum, Jere Doherty and Frank Murphy.

Charlie and Patsy’s granddaughter, Annie McDaniel, with her son, Benjamin. That big cutout is from an open house the News Sentinel had when it moved into its new building in 2003. Moxley Carmichael helped plan the festivities, and we had Charlie draw characters to guide people through the sprawling new facility. This one pointed the way to Charlie’s office.

Here’s a better picture of Annie and Benjamin.

Charlie with his friend Jim Lyle.

Jack McElroy, center, with Judy and Mayor Warren Gooch.

Jean Jett and Bill Henry.

Old Knoxville Journal colleagues: Anne Klebenow, left, with Leslie and Barry Henderson.

Steve Oglesby sent me this photo of Charley with Amy McRary and Jack Lail from the second “shift” of party-goers!


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19 Responses to Charlie Daniel’s reluctant retirement party

  1. Alan Carmichael, on February 21st, 2019 at 2:29 pm said:

    This was a very nice event for a very talented cartoonist. Not only could Charlie skewer powerful folks and make them enjoy it, he helped many non-profits with cartoons that graced invitations to their fund-raising events. Man, what an artist!

  2. Cynthia Moxley, on February 21st, 2019 at 3:28 pm said:

    Alan: Yep. One of a kind, for sure.

  3. Courtney Pearre, on February 21st, 2019 at 3:31 pm said:

    Sorry we missed it. I treasure a copy one of Charie’s cartoons, which is signed by Charlie and framed. The cartoon was done a few decades ago when I, on behalf of the Testerman Administration, was “fencing” with the railroad over its line through the World’s Fair site. Charlie was the best. I hope Charlie and Patsy enjoy retirement for many years to come.

  4. Regina Dean, on February 21st, 2019 at 3:41 pm said:

    How very sad. I hated to see Jack go, but losing Charlie in this manner is unconscionable.

  5. Pat Ball, on February 21st, 2019 at 4:20 pm said:

    Charlie and Patsy are Knoxville treasures! The paper has gone downhill without Charlie’s cartoons.
    Enjoy retirement!

  6. Cammie cate, on February 21st, 2019 at 4:38 pm said:

    We were in the second shift. Love Charlie

  7. Monique Anderson, on February 21st, 2019 at 5:08 pm said:

    His cartoons will be missed.

  8. Randy Tyree, on February 21st, 2019 at 5:38 pm said:

    Charlie knows noses!
    Godspeed Pal.

  9. Marshall Ramsey, on February 21st, 2019 at 5:42 pm said:

    Hate that I couldn’t be there. Charlie and Patsy are the two finest people I know (outside of my wife and children, of course). I wouldn’t be a cartoonist without Charlie. Seriously. And I can only pray I do my job half as well as he has. Knoxville has been so fortunate to have both of them as part of the community.

    I hope there is a way he can keep drawing. But I’m selfish like that.

  10. Carolyn Carter Jensen, on February 21st, 2019 at 6:27 pm said:

    It was a awesome party in-spite of us all feeling let down not having Charlie’s creative, thought provoking cartoons. When I opened the paper and read them, I always thought why did I not think of that. I just did not have that talent. My late husband, Tom had many, many of his signed cartoons and framed them and hung them in the reception area of his office as Minority Leader in the Legislature in Nashville. People were always looking at them while waiting. Charlie truly is treasure and what a legacy he leaves for Knoxville and the state.
    We all love that guy.

    Carolyn Jensen

  11. Georgiana Vines, on February 21st, 2019 at 6:57 pm said:

    Patsy told me I was being invited because she asked for my address. Turned out the party was when I was in San Francisco, celebrating Carla’s birthday. So sorry to have missed.

  12. Bill Williams, on February 21st, 2019 at 7:04 pm said:

    I miss Charlie, his fertile mind and wonderful cartoons terribly. There will never be another Charle. I take some solace by enjoying the two cartoons he did for me hanging on my office walll. Thank you Charlie!!

  13. tom Robinson, on February 21st, 2019 at 9:26 pm said:

    So proud of the fine work my Uncle Charlie has done over the years. I loved the summers Patsy & Charlie would entertain their nieces and nephews from Eastern NC in Knoxville. So glad of the recognition his friends arranged for him.

  14. Sandra Clark, on February 21st, 2019 at 10:01 pm said:

    Charlie’s the best. Great to see Anne Klebenow pictured here – I worked with her and Charlie Daniel at the Journal in ….. ahh, best left unsaid.

  15. Cynthia Moxley, on February 22nd, 2019 at 7:36 am said:

    Hey, everybody: Thanks for posting all these sweet, sweet comments. Such a wide range of people have been affected by Charlie and his work. It’s so touching.

  16. Keith Roach, on February 22nd, 2019 at 8:57 am said:

    Happy “retirement” Charlie! Thanks for always bringing humor to a world of chaos. Prayers and blessings!

  17. Freda Satterfield, on February 22nd, 2019 at 9:11 am said:

    Just one more reason not to read the paper!! Charlie was the only reason I’m most publications.

  18. Elizabeth Grant, on February 22nd, 2019 at 4:57 pm said:

    I know you and Patsy will find some interesting new adventure – I never have known two tirelessly energetic people in my life – Michael and I love you both. Thank you Charlie for the entertainment and great service you provided Knoxville readers and your charitable involvement for over sixty years. Too bad for us we’ve only read your cartoons in the past five+ years since we’ve been living here in Tennessee……. BUT, I do have your book ; ) See you and Patsy soon!

  19. Eleanor and John Sergent, on February 23rd, 2019 at 9:07 am said:

    Charlie and Patsy are special friends!
    We are sad to see him retire! His cartoons were the highlight of the paper (for us)!
    He will be missed by everyone!
    It was a beautiful party! Beautiful condo!

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