Goodbye Marty, And Godspeed…

At Element 79, we chose February 28 as our Founder’s Day, a day to celebrate each year’s growth and changes.  But this year, part of that change meant saying goodbye to the inimitable Marty Sherrod, a founder of our agency and a key member of our executive committee.

I will admit I am not particularly good at goodbyes.  I pine for the talented people who leave and as my assistant Mary knows only too well, I can never go to anyone’s farewell party: it’s just too painful.

So tonight is sort of a bummer, because Marty represented a unique kind of person in the world of advertising: deeply engaged, totally committed, unfailingly human.  After we lost the Quaker account–a company he dedicated a quarter of a century of his career to–he decided to retire from agency life and take a fundraising position as the CMO of the Fourth Presbyterian Church in downtown Chicago, a church he has been deeply involved with for quite some time.

To say I wish him well would be to vastly understate my affection for the man. Marty’s humanity, decency, and fundamental goodness made him a soul match for the old Quaker and a bulwark for our creative organization.  But time marches on and everyone must find their level.  This links to the video we made to recognize how Marty touched all of us at Element 79.  And I’m not too proud to admit, it made me tear up as I pieced it together on iMovie.  It’s not a great piece, but it’s how I, and so many E79 colleagues, feel about Marty.  He will be missed.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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