Gravestone Tales of Stark County

India Cox Sundblom, Illustrator’s Wife

By Don Schmidt

India Elizabeth Cox (1904-1995) was born in Wyoming, Illinois, a daughter of Harry C. and Hattie Webster Cox. She was married twice. In 1928, she married C. Leonard “Bud” Nelson (1903-1977) of Kewanee. They apparently divorced. In 1940 she married again.

Pictured are  The iconic Coca-Cola Santa Claus illustration and the Quaker Oats brand image created by Haddon Sunbloom.
Pictured are The iconic Coca-Cola Santa Claus illustration and the Quaker Oats brand image created by Haddon Sunbloom.


India Cox’s second husband was Haddon Sundblom (1899-1976), an illustrator best known for his advertising work. His Santa Claus, created for The Coca-Cola Company in the 1930s, firmly established the larger-than-life, grandfatherly Claus as a key figure in Christmas imagery. Sundblom also painted the Quaker Oats man in 1957; the image is still used in Quaker branding.
Sundblom was also a pin-up artist. His last assignment, in 1972, was a cover painting for Playboy’s Christmas issue.

Sundblom died in Chicago in 1976 at age 76. India Sundblom was a widow for 19 years. After her death at age 91, her remains were interred in Wyoming Cemetery.

2 thoughts on “Gravestone Tales of Stark County

  • April 23, 2019 at 12:45 pm
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    Hello.

    My name is Kathy O’Brien Allen, and I am Elizabeth Sundblom’s great-niece. I just ran across your article on her and wanted to let you know that you made an error about her first marriage. The man you refer to as her first husband is, in fact, her sister Harriet Cox Nelson’s husband, Bud. Elizabeth’s first husband was John Babb. Together, they had one daughter, Barbara, now deceased. Thanks for letting me set the record straight.

    Reply
    • April 30, 2019 at 4:26 pm
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      Hi, I’m Lisa Kane, John Babb was my mother, Shirley Lofton Kane’s, first cousin. Thanks for correcting this!

      Reply

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