PPAI Lifetime member H.D. “Joe” Stratton, MAS, retired senior vice president of distributor Harvey-Daco, former PPAI board chair and 2002 Hall of Fame inductee, passed away today from complications suffered in a fall several months ago. He was 82. Services are pending.
A U.S. Navy veteran, Stratton grew up in Newton, Iowa; his career began in retail, managing and later expanding his father’s men’s clothing business. In 1971, he was offered the opportunity to take on new and exciting challenges in marketing and sales promotion with Fort Worth, Texas-based Davis Advertising Company (DACO). DACO went on to merge with Harvey Advertising in 1989, forming today’s Harvey-Daco. Describing the role Stratton played in the merger of the two companies, Harvey-Daco Vice President Bob Kreuzburg says: “Joe was instrumental in merging the two organizations together. He was our go-to guy for running our Dallas office and helped our sales group immensely. He made it all come together, made it all work.”
As his cousin, Dick Davis, a co-owner of DACO, was on the SAAI/PPAI board of directors and headed up the Education Committee, Stratton had his CAS by his second year in the business and was the 15th member of the Association to receive the MAS. Over the next 20 years, Stratton served as a key member of the Association, teaching classes, judging supplier and distributor awards and working on a variety of task forces. He joined its board of directors in 1984 and was elected board chair the next year. He was also one of the three Building Committee members, overseeing the construction of the Association’s headquarters in Irving, Texas. He was named winner of the PPAI Distinguished Service Award in 1997, its inaugural year. While he retired from his role at Harvey-Daco in 1997, Stratton remained an active member and participant of PPAI’s endeavors, only ending his volunteer commitments with the Association earlier this year.
Mark Gillman, CAS, chairman of the board of Gill Studios, Inc., served on the PPAI Board with Stratton. He says, “We were very close. I knew him when he was still in Newton, and I saw a lot of him during our time on the board. He was a very active, positive person and an ideal leader for a group like ours. He never tried to shy away from problems and challenges, but could always see the light at the end of the tunnel before the rest of us. Joe was a pillar of integrity and professionalism, and very believable as an advocate for our industry.”
Outside the industry, Stratton donated considerable time and effort giving back to his community. While in Newton, he served as a board member of the local Chamber of Commerce and two terms as president of the Newton High School Booster Club, and he was elected to The Iowa Retail Merchants Board of Directors. After moving to Texas, he volunteered with the Irving Cares Food Pantry and served on the boards of American Bank and Allied Bank.
When he retired, Stratton focused his energies on his love of painting landscapes and flowers. He had taken up painting about 20 years ago as a classroom student of painter and art instructor Bob Ross, who is best known as host of the PBS TV show, “The Joy of Painting,” which aired from 1983-1994. He shared his passion with numerous budding painters by teaching at the Irving Arts Association.
Dave DeGreeff, vice president of sales at Harvey-Daco, Inc., first met Stratton when he called on DACO as a multi-line rep. “Joe was such a gentleman, and had such great patience,” he says. “He had the ability to stay calm and look at all the options and understand a lot of viewpoints. Joe had so much class, he radiated it. And when I volunteered with PPAI, it was great to have a board chair that gave that off. He was a great spokesman and role model for the industry. Joe and a couple of guys in the industry have been like surrogate fathers for me. I’d go to them for counsel. He was a very special person in this industry.”
Stratton remained a friend of the Association. He was a regular guest at PPAI’s headquarters, visiting with staff and the Association’s leadership, sharing his artwork and joining in a number of its holiday and social events.
Stratton was preceded in death by his wife, Carol. He is survived by his daughter, Jolie, and son, David.
In 2012, the PPAI Board of Directors voted to create a Hall of Fame memorial scholarship program through the Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF). In memory of Stratton, PPAI will donate up to $2,500 toward the $5,000 needed to establish an Associate Named Scholarship with PPEF.
Those who want to honor Stratton may send donations payable to PPEF to 3125 Skyway Circle North, Irving, Texas 75038. Please write “Joe Stratton Memorial” in the memo line. Gifts can also be made online at https://app.etapestry.com/hosted/PPEF/OnlineDonation.html. Under Gift Information, select Memorial/Honorary and input the requested information.