Joe Williams- In Memoriam

October 3rd, 2009 | Posted in News

The caricature artist community here in the Twin Cities got a big shock last month when artist Joe Williams passed away suddenly from complications with diabetes. Joe was in South Dakota doing a fair when he was found dead by a fellow artist.

Joe worked for me for several years at my booth at the Mall of America. He was quite a character, doing everything from caricatures to murals to airbrush t-shirts and bedsheet banners… you name it, Joe did it to earn a living as an artist. When the traffic versus rent at the Mall of America became too out of balance Joe bought my equipment from me and took over the booth himself, which he ran for a year or so before moving on to do fairs, festivals and the like.

Joe was a real private guy who was reticent to talk about his background or family. His friends realized after his death we knew nothing about his family or who to get ahold of. Almost nothing was found among his few possessions to allow anyone to locate his next of kin. He was unmarried and had no permanent residence… he lived mostly on the road doing fairs and events, and with friends when back in Minnesota. Joe eventually was cremated and was interred on October 1st in St. Paul.

Minnesota public radio did a piece on him some years back.

The YouTube link above is a short video tribute by caricaturist Trevour Meyer.

Joe will be missed by his many friends.


  1. Trevour says:

    Thanks for posting, Tom. We’ll all miss Joe! I only wish I could’ve rounded up more photos of him as well as his work.

  2. Tom,
    that’s quite a story. Sorry to hear of your friend’s passing
    Points out the importance of staying connected with friends and family.

  3. Tiff Severson says:

    Thanks Tom,

    Joe will be greatly missed. I enjoyed working with him at the MOA booth and learned quite a bit about dealing with customers from observing him.

    I think what I will miss the most is randomly stumbling across him drawing somewhere. He popped up when I least expected it but seemed to need a laugh the most.


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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