Born in Nyack, N.Y, in 1931, Mr. O'Connor joined the agency as a trainee on General Motors Corp.'s Chevrolet business in 1956. He was named Chevrolet account director in 1975 and moved to New York in 1982 as vice chairman-CEO of Marschalk Campbell-Ewald Worldwide.
The 1954 University of Michigan grad returned to Detroit in 1985 to serve as Campbell-Ewald's chairman until his retirement in 1996. He's credited with growing the shop and its capabilities in integrated advertising and marketing.
Charity, education booster
"Dick was intensely passionate about Campbell-Ewald and growing our reputation as a powerhouse of integrated advertising and marketing communications," said Tony Hopp, chairman-CEO of the agency and Mr. O'Connor's successor. "He was committed to our industry, providing leadership to our local and national organizations throughout his career." Mr. Hopp also praised his predecessor for making time to support over a dozen educational and charitable organizations.
Mr. O'Connor was active in industry affairs, serving at one time as chairman of the American Advertising Federation and a director of the American Association of Advertising Agencies. At different times he was also president of both the Advertising Club of New York and Adcraft Club of Detroit.
After retiring, Mr. O'Connor teamed with his former agency lieutentant, Peter Dow, as co-owner and sometime host of a popular Irish pub, Dick O'Dow's, in Birmingham, Mich.
"A mighty oak has fallen," said Mr. Dow, who retired in 1995 from Campbell-Ewald as vice chairman-chief operating officer. "Clients loved Dick because they knew he cared deeply about their success. He was a great client guy."
Mr. O'Connor is survived by his wife, Binky, a brother, three sons, two daughters, two stepsons and 16 grandchildren.