Boris Drucker, 88, of Center City, a cartoonist who chronicled the foibles of everyday life for a diverse assortment of magazines that included the New Yorker, the Saturday Evening Post, Punch, Playboy and Family Circle, died of a stroke Thursday at Hahnemann University Hospital.
In 2000, Mr. Drucker told an Inquirer reporter that as a freelance artist, "I've had tremendously good years and tremendously bad years. But I've never had a bad afternoon, thanks to the pleasure and therapy cartooning gives me."
Mr. Drucker graduated from West Philadelphia High School and from the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art, now the University of the Arts, where he later taught.
During World War II, he served in the Army in the China-Burma-India Theater. While completing meteorological reports for U.S. pilots flying over the Himalayas, he sketched villagers and his fellow soldiers.
After his discharge, Mr. Drucker interviewed at an advertising agency in Philadelphia. There, an executive advised him that he was a cartoonist, not an advertising artist, and suggested he try the Saturday Evening Post. Mr. Drucker took a month to make 100 cartoons, and with the help from his friends and neighborhood postman winnowed the number to 10, which he took to the Post's cartoon editor. He sold a cartoon to the magazine and became a regular contributor.
Mr. Drucker also drew cartoons for advertising agencies and worked on campaigns for numerous corporate clients, including Bell Telephone and Philadelphia Electric.
In 1966, he sold his first cartoon to the New Yorker.
"He considered it a great achievement," his daughter Johanna said, "the thrill of his life."
Mr. Drucker contributed cartoons to the New Yorker for three decades.
In 2005, he donated his art archives to the Syracuse University Library's Special Collections Research Center.
He was working on a cartoon for Playboy as recently as last week, his daughter said. His work was timely but political, she said. Besides his pen-ink-and-wash cartoons, he did lovely watercolor and pencil portraits of family.
Mr. Drucker admired the work of Picasso, Matisse, and Philadelphians Thomas Eakins and the Peale family.
"Some musicians have perfect pitch," his daughter said. "He had a perfect eye."
Years ago, he started buying Audubon prints at modest prices before their value appreciated, she said.
Mr. Drucker enjoyed reading science fiction, keeping up with current events, and following the Eagles and the Phillies.
In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife of 24 years, Jane Paalborg Drucker; a son, David; another daughter, Elizabeth Farr; stepchildren Andrew Paalborg and Ellen Mischke; a sister; and 12 grandchildren. His wife of more than 35 years, Barbara Witmer Drucker, died in 1982.
A funeral will begin at 10 a.m. today at Joseph Levine & Sons, 7112 N. Broad St., Philadelphia. Burial will be in Mount Sharon Cemetery, Springfield, Delaware County.
Memorial donations may be made to Congregation Rodeph Shalom, 615 N. Broad St., Philadelphia 19123.