Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Lounsbery's family relocated to Colorado when he was very young. As a young adult he moved to California after attending the Art Institute of Denver and began working as a commercial artist while attending classes at the Art Center School of Design. It was one of his instructors who recommended he apply for a job at the Disney Studios.
Lounsbery's earliest work included various Pluto shorts and assisting on the animation of the Witch in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. By 1940 he was a full-fledged animator creating such memorable characters as J. Worthington Foulfellow and Gideon in Pinocchio and Ben Ali Gator in the Fantasia segment "Dance of the Hours."
This was just the beginning of a 40-plus year career that included Dumbo, Victory Through Air Power, Song of the South, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Mary Poppins, and The Jungle Book. During this time Lounsbery also became a master of the animated technique known as "squash and stretch" - which gives an animated object dimension and volume, making it more lifelike.
Sadly he was midway through his third directorial project The Rescuers, when he passed away on February 13, 1976 of heart failure during surgery.
"John was not a pretentious man, but very much a teacher. Very kind and very sharing with all of his information." -animator Don Bluth
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