Paul Fullmer, who headed Selz/Seabolt Communications, dead at 85

His agency was acquired by Publicis 20 years ago.

Paul Fullmer
Paul Fullmer

CHICAGO: Selz/Seabolt Communications’ former president and CEO Paul Fullmer died last week at the age of 85, following a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis.

In 1980, Fullmer became the firm’s chief and served in that role for 20 years until selling it to Publicis in 2000. He continued as a consultant for three years.

During his time at Selz/Seabolt Communications, he worked with clients including Square D, Masonite, Hush Puppies parent Wolverine Worldwide, Ski-Doo snowmobiles and Sea-Doo watercraft, KitchenAid appliances, Chicago-area McDonald’s operators, Sargento and the American Blue Cheese Association.

Fullmer also worked with celebrities such as baseball legend Joe DiMaggio and newscaster Paul Harvey, and coordinated product launches for icons like Mr. Coffee, according to Chad Ritterbusch, who worked with him between 1994 and 2003.

"Paul traveled with famous people, titans of industry and CEOs of major corporations," said Ritterbusch, who is now owner and president of TRG Marketing. "Yet, he treated the guys in the mailroom and the administrative professionals with the same care, concern and love. That is unique."

He added that Fullmer’s "greatest legacy" is supporting the career development of "dozens" of PR pros in Chicago and beyond.

Fullmer’s wife, Sandra Fullmer, with whom he shared a 58-year marriage, said that the word she uses to describe him is "genuine."

"He was true to his word," she said. "He was gentle, caring and always looked out for the people who worked at the organization."

Fullmer served as president of the Public Relations Society of America Chicago Chapter between 1988 and 1989.

Fullmer was also his firm’s representative in Pinnacle Worldwide, an international consortium of PR firms, for 20 years. He was the organization’s president from 1990 to 1992 and chairman from 1992 to 1993.

Fullmer was a 1955 journalism graduate of the University of Notre Dame. He started his career as a reporter for the Aurora Beacon-News. He served in the U.S. Army Reserve for six years, with six months active duty in 1957. 

Fullmer and his wife retired in Carlsbad, California, in 2017.

Memorial donations may be sent to the Paul Fullmer Scholarship Fund, University of Notre Dame, 1100 Grace Hall, Notre Dame, Indiana, 46556.

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