Richard "Dick" Keith, 82, an award-winning advertising executive behind such iconic campaigns as AT&T's "Reach Out and Touch Someone" and the U.S. Army's "Be All You Can Be," died Dec. 12 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, his family said.
Mr. Keith, a longtime resident of Furlong, Bucks County, recently was ranked among the top 100 American tennis players age 80 and over, and had been in generally good health, said a son, Doug Keith.
Mr. Keith made his name as an adman, serving as creative director for NW Ayer campaigns that are familiar to many. He won two Clios, the highest honor in advertising.
Born in Rock Hill, S.C., Mr. Keith joined the ROTC while at the University of Richmond, where he earned a bachelor's degree. He then served two years in the Army.
He began his career as a technical writer for General Electric, writing manuals for nuclear submarines. He then moved into advertising, working for Young & Rubicam in Philadelphia and NW Ayer & Sons in New York. Mr. Keith eventually rose to become an executive vice president of that agency.
As creative director at NW Ayer from 1966 through 1985, he worked on the AT&T and Army campaigns, as well as campaigns for General Electric, Gulf Oil, and United Airlines.
Later, he was a partner at Mel Richman & Sons in Philadelphia.
Mr. Keith loved his career and worked hard at it, but he had other passions.
"He was very quick-witted, lively, and very interested in the world," Doug Keith said. "And he was a very creative person."
He wrote books, screenplays, and plays, including two musicals that were produced locally.
As a tennis player, he was known by "everybody in the tri-county tennis world," Mr. Keith's son said. "He probably played on every court in the area."
Mr. Keith loved the Philadelphia area, where he and his wife, Dorothy "Dotsie" Keith, moved in 1961. The couple raised their family on a farm in Furlong, where Mrs. Keith, who died in 2006, also raised Dalmatians.
Mr. Keith sold the family farm and moved to Morrisville in 2014.
Although he was accomplished, he was humble, Doug Keith said. He was a raconteur, and loved to tell stories about his work, but always played up the role of his teammates.
"He never said, 'Guess what I did?' " Doug Keith said. "He could be a direct person, but he had a certain comportment about him. He believed you carried yourself a certain way, you managed your relationships a certain way."
In addition to his son, Mr. Keith is survived by sons Craige and Bruce; four grandchildren; a great-granddaughter; and his companion, Brenda Perkins.
A celebration of Mr. Keith's life will take place from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, in the social hall of Trinity Episcopal Church, 2631 Durham Rd., Buckingham, Pa.
Memorial donations may be made to Legacy Youth Tennis and Education, 4842 Ridge Ave., Philadelphia, Pa. 19129.