Longtime Douglaston resident and Bayside Times resident cartoonist Arthur “Tip” Sempliner died on the evening of Jan. 21. He was 76 years old.
According to his wife Diana Saunders, doctors at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island diagnosed Sempliner with a “massive gastrointestinal infection” last Friday. Saunders said neither she nor the doctors could pinpoint the cause of the infection.
After Sempliner was admitted to the hospital, doctors put him on total life support but he succumbed to his condition early Tuesday evening despite the hospital’s best efforts. Saunders said that she has “nothing but praise” for the doctors and nurses who took care of Sempliner during his time there.
“The nurses were checking on him every three minutes and the doctors would come in at least four times a day,” Saunders said.
Sempliner was born and raised in Detroit, Mich., and came to New York in 1969 as a professor’s assistant at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. In the early 1990s, Sempliner began teaching production methods and industrial design classes.
He studied art at the University of Michigan and pursued a master’s degree in business before becoming an industrial engineer. During his lifetime he served as both a designer and the vice president at Dorwin Teague Associates (now known as Teague), the president of Construcciónes Sempliner in Spain and the founder of Chelsea Design in New York.
An accomplished inventor, Sempliner held dozens of patents for things like a cable grommet system used in data centers and improvements on a bobsled used by Olympic athletes.
Saunders does not remember exactly when Sempliner began drawing cartoons for the Bayside Times but believes it was sometime “in the 1990s” when he got to know the newspaper’s former owners.
His cartoons were often commentaries or critiques on current events, politics and pop culture. Saunders recalled that her husband won an award for the best editorial cartoon in the 1996 New York Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.
“He was a good guy with a great sense of humor. He was interesting to be with and was very knowledgable,” Saunders said.
He is survived by Saunders, his wife of 24 years, daughters Courtney and Winthur, stepdaughters Fiona and Fenella and five grandchildren. He will be buried in Detroit in his family’s plot. Specific funeral arrangements have not yet been set.