Friends, family, and colleagues are mourning the death of PR pioneer Paul Werth, who died in Columbus, OH on July 1. He was 84.
A founding father in many respects, Werth was regarded in the highest esteem among his colleagues as one of the first to earn PRSA accreditation, and as a member of the inaugural class of the PRSA College of Fellows.
Many of the ideas that he developed have been embedded into the profession.
"He built a legacy of integrity and professionalism, said Cynthia Pharr, who worked with Werth while he served as the national chairman of the PRSA Counselor's Academy in the early 1970s.
Werth's PR career was an accomplished one. In 1956, he took on the position of director of PR and marketing for Industrial Nucleonics. He started his own agency, Paul Werth Associates (now the oldest in Columbus), in 1963. In 1942, well before his professional career began, he served in the Army, and used his communications skills to train pilots in World War II.
Werth adored his work in PR, Pharr said, approaching all tasks with quiet confidence and professionalism. "He was a wonderful representative, a counselor and statesman, Pharr said. "He was a gentleman, warm, very business-savvy, all about ethics."
When a national firm offered to buy Paul Werth Associates and move to New York, Werth refused, choosing to stay in the city he loved. He was recognized as an outstanding citizen by the city of Columbus, the Ohio House of Representatives, and the Ohio Senate.
An active member of his community, he chaired the communications effort for United Way of Franklin County, served as an early board member for the Columbus Urban League, and sat on the board of trustees for both the Boy Scouts of America and the American Cancer Society. In May, the Franklin County Unit of the American Cancer Society named its new facility the Paul and Margaret Werth Community Resource Center.
Werth is survived by his wife of 54 years, Margaret; son William Kelly; daughters Sandra Harbrecht (president of Paul Werth Associates) and Linda Chupp; seven grandchildren; and four great grandchildren.
A memorial was held on July 10 in Worthington, OH. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be made to the Paul and Margaret Werth Community Resource Center Fund, in care of the American Cancer Society, 870 Michigan Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215.