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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Remembering ‘the Aggie’s Aggie’

Jim+Earle
Photo by Courtesy
Jim Earle

James “Jim” Hubert Earle passed away in College Station on Monday, leaving behind lasting memories with his family and friends.
Born and raised in the small town of Jacksonville, Texas, Earle didn’t always know he wanted to be an Aggie.
However, the traditions, especially the Corps of Cadets, drew him in. Immersing himself into the culture of Texas A&M, Earle fell in love with the place. And over the years, Aggieland fell in love with him too, through his long-running comic, Cadet Slouch.
His passion for art began during his time at Jacksonville High School with his first caricatures. A man of many talents, he was also a champion boxer, a track athlete and a football star. At the end of high school, he packed up and moved to College Station, where he would spend the majority of his life.
Starting in 1953, while Earle was a student at A&M, he began to publish comics in The Battalion. The character of Cadet Slouch, who started off making occasional appearances, soon became a daily addition to the paper. Earle’s wife of 61 years, Teresa Gatlin Earle, said Cadet Slouch was an everyday Aggie, just like Earle himself.
“He found the humor in everything,” Gatlin said. “He was not a military Aggie, he was just an Aggie’s Aggie. He was in the Corps, he loved that part of it, but he still was never a rah-rah Aggie.”
During his time at Texas A&M — both as a student and later as a professor — Earle became widely recognized for his work on Cadet Slouch, who went through various timely changes from 1953 to 1985, when Earle’s last comic was published. Earle’s signature character gained immense popularity with both the students and the administration, leading to the creation of an entire comic book and even handmade Cadet Slouch dolls created by Earle’s mother. A&M administrators even approached him to create a resource that would encourage students to attend and pass their classes. Soon after, the university published Earle’s booklet titled “How to Flunk,”which offered a comedic account of common academic mistakes.
Though he was Class of 1954, Earle graduated in 1955 after completing a five-year degree in architecture and headed to officer training school at the Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, where he met his wife.
“He met me and he said ‘You’re a mighty pretty little girl; I might marry you,’” Gatlin said.
After the couple’s wedding on December 23, 1957, Earle returned to Aggieland to complete his Ph.D. in education and teach in A&M’s engineering design graphics department,where he later served as department head. Earle retired in 1995, completing his teaching career at A&M.
Despite his busy schedule and the extra task of creating new workbooks and textbooks for the department, he continued to set aside time to develop and publish new cartoons featuring Cadet Slouch and other iconic characters in The Battalion. Earle’s daughter, Elizabeth Blodgett, said Cadet Slouch was his way of expressing himself, and the character was a major part of his identity.
“He felt like he could not say some of these things, but he could put it in a cartoon,” Blodgett said.
Cadet Slouch ran in The Battalion for around 30 years, and the inspiration came from Earle’s own life experiences or from conversations around him. His wife and two daughters believe that Slouch was based on Earle himself. Although he never admitted it to them, they could see the similarities.
Both Palmer and Blodgett remember their father as a practical and thoughtful man. His first priority was his family and their reputation. He believed in living life to the fullest, having fun and remembering not to be serious all the time. Palmer said she remembers a story from her aunt about how Earle wanted Palmer to be her own person.
“I used to always be outspoken about what I had to do and they would be like ‘Oh Susan you can’t say stuff like that,’” Palmer said. “Daddy would be like ‘No no no. I want a child with an opinion. I want her to have an opinion and I want her to be self secure.’ … I think he just wanted us to be leaders.”
Earle thoroughly enjoyed being a professor at A&M. It was his dream job. In all his classes, he required the utmost respect of the armed forces, as he was both a former Corps member and an Air Force veteran.
“He was very respectful,” Palmer said. “I had friends that had him as a professor and they said he didn’t want you wearing a hat, wearing flip flops, ‘better be there on time, don’t come into my class with a drink, have a sharp pencil.’ He just had particular ways.”
If it was up to him, he would have never retired, Gatlin Earle said. He never wanted to grow old. In his 86 years of life, he enjoyed every moment of it. His life was full of Aggie spirit, laughter, family and of course, Cadet Slouch.
“It was his identity,” Palmer said. “He had a sense of humor and just had to express it.”

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  • Jim Earle

    Photo by Courtesy
  • Cadet Slouch

    Photo by Courtesy of Cushing Memorial Library and Archives
  • Cadet Slouch

    Photo by Courtesy of Cushing Memorial Library and Archives
  • Cadet Slouch

    Photo by Courtesy of Cushing Memorial Library and Archives
  • Cadet Slouch

    Photo by Courtesy of Cushing Memorial Library and Archives
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