Joseph J. Yeninas, a former editorial cartoonist for the Newark Evening News, died on May 29 from the effects of inclusion body myositis. He was 86.
Yeninas began his career in journalism in the graphics department of the Newark Evening News, where he also drew a weekly sports cartoon. His cartoons eventually included current news items, including the 1967 Newark riots.
He was among the journalists that joined the picket line when employees of his newspaper went on strike. He met his future wife, Barbara Spector, a Newark News editor, while picketing outside the newspaper’s office.
The Newark News never reopened, and Yeninas joined the graphics department at the Associated Press. He drew illustrations for the moon landing in 1969.
Yeninas’ cartoons and illustrations appeared in more than 1,500 Associated Press newspapers during his sixteen-year career there. After that, he directed the art department at the Journal of Commerce.
Yeninas grew up in Plymouth, Pennsylvania, where his father was a coal miner and his mother was a laborer at a silk mill factory.
He passed up a chance to play professional baseball in 1953 to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps.
After his military service, Yeninas signed a contact to play for the Decatur Commodores, the Class D Midwest League affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. He played on a team managed by former Cincinnati Reds catcher Al Unser that included future Mets pitcher Jack Hamilton and future Atlanta Braves infielder Bud Bloomfield.
His career ended after six games, and three hits in eighteen at-bats.
He then attended the University of Buffalo.
Yeninas lives in Holmdel.