Robert Jawer, 91, of Rydal, a local television pioneer and producer whose career at KYW spanned almost 45 years, died Friday, Dec. 20, of complications from pneumonia at his home.
Jawer was an early believer in the value of using television for advertisements, and is believed to have been Philadelphia's first broadcast television salesman.
Raised in West Philadelphia, Mr. Jawer served in the Army during World War II. He was returning home when a magazine article about the then-new medium caught his eye, and after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, he enrolled in the Television Workshop in New York City to learn the basics.
Jawer then formed his own production company, and developed a weekly half-hour beauty contest called "Miss Television of Philadelphia" to be shown on Channel 3, which was then WPTZ. In 1947, he was hired to sell advertising time to local businesses, and sold his first 20-second commercial to his father's auto supply company, his family said.
He met his future wife, Helene, when she was working for an advertising agency, and he called on her boss to make a sales pitch.
"He was interested in people," she said. "He never complained about anything, and our marriage just got better and better."
Over the next decades, Mr. Jawer's sales grew to include local and national clients as well as cable sales. He formed his own agency in 1991, and also taught television sales and production at the Charles Morris Price School of Advertising and Journalism, and public relations and marketing at Wharton and the Annenberg School for Communication.
He often tried to help the children of friends find jobs in the television industry, his wife said.
"They never even asked him," she said. "You never had to ask. That's just who he was. He always wanted to help."
Mr. Jawer also had a passion for music, and played piano and composed music all his life. He was a tennis fan who played the game until age 87.
In addition to his wife of 54 years, he is survived by sons Bruce and Michael; daughters Judy and Anne; and seven grandchildren.
Funeral services were Monday. Shivah will be observed Tuesday and Wednesday at his home from noon to 9 p.m.
Contributions may be made in his memory to the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Association of Philadelphia, 123 S. Broad St., Philadelphia 19109.