In Memoriam: Harry Rosenberg, CAS

Former PPAI Board Chair and PPAI Hall of Fame inductee Harry Rosenberg, CAS, president of St. Louis, Missouri-based Specialty Advertising Consultants, Inc., passed away on April 23 at age 91. He enjoyed an extraordinary 67-year career as an industry supplier, consultant and long-time PPAI volunteer.

Rosenberg joined the industry in 1944, after a semester at Washington University, when he started working at his family’s company, Universal Match Corporation. When the company was sold in 1950, he and his two brothers-in-law bought writing instrument supplier Ritepoint, which was then based in St. Louis. He ran the company until 1980 when he officially retired. He then formed Specialty Advertising Consultants, serving as a consultant to industry suppliers, a role he transitioned to part time in recent years. He was at work as recently as this past Thursday.

In the 1970s, Rosenberg served on the PPAI board and was elected board chair in 1975. In 1983, he was inducted into the PPAI Hall of Fame. He continued his volunteer service to PPAI for years, serving on committees, advisory councils and the Product Responsibility Action Group. In 2016 he was named a PPAI Fellow to commemorate his many years of volunteer service. He was also honored with the ASI Marvin Spike Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.

Fellow former board chair and Hall of Famer Wayne Greenberg, MAS, president of JB of Florida, Inc., a division of Geiger, knew Rosenberg for decades. “This is a big loss,” he says. “Harry would best be described as professional, polished, practical, down to earth and genuine. Harry was the real deal. You knew you were going to get the truth from Harry, even if you didn’t want to hear it. But more often you got words of encouragement. He mentored so many, including me, that we have a better industry because Harry was in it. Always willing to help and educate, I will miss my friend, Harry.”

Mark Gilman, CAS, chairman of Gill Studios, Inc., and another former PPAI board chair and fellow Hall of Famer, says of Rosenberg, “Harry was, in every sense, a good man. He was my first mentor and my friend and guide for over 40 years. He was the first inductee into my personal Hall of Fame. Condolences to his family. ‘If there's another world, he lives in bliss; if there is none, he made the best of this.’”

In a 2017 interview with PPB magazine, Rosenberg was asked about his proudest industry accomplishments. “I am proud of several things I’ve been able to accomplish during my career,” he said. “First is the creation of PPB magazine [first published in 1976]. We bought out a small, one-man distributorship in Florida that was publishing an industry newspaper and doing quite well with it. Another thing I’m proud of is moving the Association out of Chicago and down to Texas in 1979. And probably the best of all was becoming PPAI’s chair of the board back in 1975.”

In addition to his work within the promotional products industry, Rosenberg volunteered for the Senior Olympics for 36 years and is a recipient of the organization’s Doc Eberhart Award. He was also an avid reader and loved sports, fishing, music, travel, history and geography. A lifelong learner, he was the author of two quiz books about U.S. history, the American flag and famous Americans.

Rosenberg is survived by his wife of 68 years, Ginny; his son, Buz Rosenberg and wife Jane; daughter Ellen Sullivan and husband David; six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

A celebration of life will be held on April 30, from 4-7 pm, at Longview Farm House, 13525 Clayton Road, St. Louis.

PPAI honors Hall of Fame members for their lifetime contributions to the Association and industry by matching industry donations up to $2,500 to fulfill the $5,000 commitment needed to create a Named Scholarship through the Promotional Products Education Foundation. To make a gift to establish a scholarship in Rosenberg’s name, send a check payable to PPEF mentioning Harry Rosenberg in the memo line and mail it to PPEF, 3125 Skyway Circle North, Irving, Texas 75038. Gifts can also be made online at www.ppef.us. Click on “donate” and enter “Harry Rosenberg memorial” in the Comments Section.

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Comments (1)
Steven Meyer
April 26, 2019
A true gentleman and character whose voice and smile will be remembered by the many he mentored and the industry he served.
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