Donald Gaudio, 20-Year Ogilvy Exec, Dead at 83

Supervised the Nationwide Insurance Account

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NEW YORK ( -- Donald R. Gaudio, 83, a longtime Ogilvy & Mather executive, died in his Oceanside, Calif., home Feb. 15. He was 83.
Donald Gaudio
Donald Gaudio

Mr. Gaudio spent half his 40-year career at Ogilvy, working principally as supervisor of the Nationwide Insurance account and earning the title of senior VP before retiring in 1990.

"He held accounts together like glue. If you pulled him out, the whole account would fall apart," said Pite Verbeck, a former Ogilvy creative director who worked under Mr. Gaudio. "Everybody would be bullshitting the client, but not Don. He was in the back, doing the work."

Born in Beaver Falls, Pa., Mr. Gaudio enlisted in the Marines in 1942 as a reservist. He would not see action during the World War II, eventually working in the Marine's intelligence department during the Korean War, earning the rank of captain. On his return, he graduated from the University of Missouri with a major in journalism, but it is in ad world that he made his career. He moved to New York and worked for Benton and Bowles and Ruthrauff & Ryan (where he met his wife, Beverly), among others.

Michael Vaughn, a former account manager who worked with Mr. Gaudio for five years at Ogilvy, said Mr. Gaudio "definitely had Semper Fie Marine values."

"He was loyal to Ogilvy, loyal to his clients, loyal to his family and colleagues. He had a sense of integrity and honesty you rarely find these days, I'm saddened to say," Mr. Vaughn said. "He epitomized David Ogilvy's idea of a gentleman with a brain. It was an honor to have Don Gaudio on my team. I learned much from him."

"He told me a couple of years ago 'I've had a good ride. I can't complain,'" said Mr. Guadio's son David, a film editor. "That was the truth; he was a wonderful man who had a great life."

After retiring, Mr. Gaudio moved to Oceanside, where he became a founding member of the Oceanside Museum of Art. He leaves behind his wife of 52 years, Beverly; two sons, Jeffrey and David; two daughters, Beverly and Pamela; 10 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.
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