Samuel Ansell ’40

Cartoonist, ad man and business man Samuel Ansell, 99, of Waltham, died on August 1st, 2021. Sam Ansell’s career changed course many times but cartooning was always part of it. Mr Ansell grew up in Newton and attended Newton High school where his humorous essays filled the pages of the Newtonian magazine. His love of George Herriman’s Krazy Kat drew him to cartooning and his style and humor saw him published in numerous magazines of the 40s, such as “Colliers”, “Look”, and the “Harvard Lampoon”. Mr. Ansell attended Harvard as an undergrad in English Literature at a time when quotas for Jews made that a rare occurrence. His writing and cartooning made him a perfect candidate for the editorial board of the reinvigorated humor magazine “Harvard Lampoon”. Upon graduation in 1944, he enlisted and served in the Pacific as an ensign in the US Navy. After the war, he went on to receive an MA from Columbia University’s School of Journalism. It was while in college that his cartooning career blossomed. His cartoons and humor columns were regular features in the “Harvard Lampoon” and the “Columbia Jester”. Through syndication, other college humor magazines across the country picked up his cartoons as well. After Columbia, Mr. Ansell stayed in New York and turned his writing talents to public relations, landing a job as a PR man for the New York Metropolitan Opera, a stint that was cut short after the wife of the featured tenor insisted he be fired for neglecting to bring her the coffee she demanded. He then spent the remainder of the fifties and early sixties on Madison Ave as a copywriter and illustrator, continuing to employ his cartooning skills in many of the ads he created. It was during this time that Mr. Ansell met and married Na’ama Lubin with whom he remained for the next sixty-nine years until his death. As TV ramped up, the downturn in print advertising forced his next career move, a return to the Boston area to lead the sales and marketing effort for the family business, S. H. Ansell & Son, a South Boston-based wholesale container company founded by his grandfather Solomon Ansell in 1888. Those driving in Boston in the 70’s and 80’s were likely to have seen bright yellow trucks with “Someone’s getting bottles Fast from Ansell” on the side. His cartooning skills again became a fixture in the marketing pieces he created. A voracious reader and prolific writer, Mr. Ansell was also an avid outdoorsman. He skied, biked, canoed and somehow found time to hike all forty-eight 4,000 foot or higher mountains in New England earning entry into the exclusive Appalachian Mountain Club Four Thousand Footer Club. After retiring, the Ansells moved to a small mountain town in Umbria, Italy where his interests in opera, wine, hiking, great food and medieval architecture were well indulged and rewarded. They returned to live in Waltham when travel became difficult. In his last decade, Mr. Ansell continued his lifetime of education by attending Brandeis’s adult learning center and contributing cartoons to the program’s publication the “Bolli Banner”. Mr. Ansell leaves his wife Na’ama, daughter Aliza Ansell and son-in-law Ric Nudell, son Seth Ansell, son Gideon Ansell and daughter-in-law Mary Rutkowski and grandchildren, Adeline Ansell and wife Ashley Mallon, Ivan Rukowki-Ansell and Leya Ansell. Those wishing to read more about Mr. Ansell’s life can visit his memorial page at In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to one of his favorite charities: Doctors Without Borders or the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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