Mr. Isham spent more than 30 years at Needham Harper & Steers, Chicago, later DDB Needham Worldwide. He started as an assistant account exec in 1948 and became VP-creative services in 1959. He became president in 1967, and was named vice chairman in 1976.
"Jim Isham combined great professional skills with extraordinary warmth, wit and personal dignity," said Keith Reinhard, current chairman of DDB Needham.
Mr. Isham served in the Navy in World War II. Before that he graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism in 1942.