Herman Parish, the children’s book author who wrote nearly 60 books featuring the beloved character Amelia Bedelia, has died at 71, HarperCollins announced in a news release.

Parish was born in Waco, Texas, and raised in various Air Force bases throughout the U.S. and England. He was educated at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and spent four years in the U.S. Navy before working in the advertising industry.

Parish was the nephew of Peggy Parish, who in 1963 created Amelia Bedelia, a lovable but frustratingly literal-minded housekeeper. Peggy Parish wrote a dozen books featuring the character before her death in 1988.

Herman Parish took over as the author of the Amelia Bedelia books in 1995 with Good Driving, Amelia Bedelia; dozens more would follow, including Calling Doctor Amelia Bedelia; Happy Haunting, Amelia Bedelia; and Amelia Bedelia Talks Turkey. He also wrote books featuring Amelia Bedelia as a young girl, including Amelia Bedelia's First Field Trip and Amelia Bedelia Makes a Splash.

In a 2013 interview with the nonprofit First Book, Herman Parish reflected on the legacy of the famous character, saying, “Peggy must have had a sense that the character she created would live on long after she was gone. I’m sure that Amelia Bedelia will be around long after I am gone, taking the world at face value as she does exactly what she is told to do.”

In a statement, HarperCollins said, “We will fondly remember his snappy bow ties, his anecdotes and stories, his humor and kindness, his vision and fierce dedication to the timeless Amelia Bedelia, and his magic with words. Herman always knew exactly what Amelia Bedelia would do or say in any given situation—he was second to none and he always knocked it out of the park. We will miss him.”

Michael Schaub is a contributing writer.