Doug Dillard, a minister and cartoonist who for decades encouraged Baptists to laugh at themselves, died Oct. 5 at age 90.
Dillard, a former vice president of Southern Baptist Convention’s Radio and Television Commission, for 30 years published a weekly editorial cartoon in the Baptist Standard, news journal of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
Through his beleaguered pastor character “Brother Blotz,” the longtime creativity consultant for churches and denominational agencies used the medium to help Baptists better understand themselves by not taking themselves too seriously.
“There are some things that can be said with art that can’t be said in words,” Dillard said in a 1988 interview with Baptist Press. “People accept satire in cartoons that they would be up in arms about if you said it in print.”
Dillard, vice president for external relations for the now-defunct SBC agency from 1991 until 1995, began the syndicated cartoon feature in 1961.
His first cartoon came out of an experience he had while serving as minister of education at a Southern Baptist church. After a Sunday school class resisted the then-standard practice of grouping adults for Bible study by age, Dillard drew a cartoon suggesting they instead grade classes by weight and posted it outside his office door.
“The people would come by, look at it and break up laughing,” Dillard recalled in 1974. “They knew exactly who I was talking about.”
“It didn’t make them go back to their right classes, but it stopped all the fuss,” he said.
Dillard served churches as a pastor, youth evangelist and minister of education before launching a career in public relations.
In 1993 he received the Baptist General Convention of Texas Communications Award for outstanding contributions to religious life through communications media. In 2002 the Dallas chapter of the Religious Communicators’ Council – of which he was a founding member and past president – honored him with the Norvell Slater Lifetime Achievement Award, named after the longtime Sunday morning host of “Hymns We Love,” a popular radio program broadcast in the Fort Worth-Dallas metropolitan area.
Dillard is survived by his widow, JoAn Musick Dillard of Belton, Texas. Other survivors include a sister, son, two daughters, two stepsons, 10 grandchildren and eight grandchildren. His first wife of 53 years, Marah Martin Dillard, preceded him in death in 2006.
A memorial service will be held at the First Baptist Church in Belton, Texas, at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 10. Visitors will gather in the sanctuary foyer prior to the service beginning at 12:30 p.m.
There will be no burial. Dillard willed his body to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and requested that memorials be given in his memory to the charity of your choice.