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J. Thom Pride

J. Thom Pride

J. Thom Pride

J. Thom Pride, an award winning trailblazer who broke color barriers in the advertising industry, has died at the age of 74.

A native of Highland Park, Mich., and product of the H.P. public school system, Pride was quietly passionate about his family, profession and community.

A lifelong and award-winning advertising executive, Pride was the first African American hired in the Detroit office of J. Walter Thompson in 1964, and became the first African American account executive in 1965. He went on to become the first African American account executive at Campbell Ewald, and became the same at Ross Roy Advertising, where he was not only the first African American account executive but also the first African American vice president, stock holder and account supervisor.

His career spanned into the Chrysler Corporation, Health Alliance Plan and the city of Detroit, where he served under Mayor Dennis Archer.

Pride was recognized during his career with many awards, including 2 Emmys, and 1 Clio. He produced “The Rowan Report” and “Rap on Sports” for Chrysler and “Soul of a Nation” for McDonalds.

Many PR, advertising and media professionals recognize and acknowledge Pride’s unselfish and never-ending support of their careers.

Pride was an avid golfer and tennis player, and was a longtime member of the Detroit Golf Club and Indian Village Tennis Club. He was also the first African American member of the Detroit Boat Club.

Pride’s wife, Verne, and son, Thomas, preceded him in death. He leaves behind four adult children, Alesia, Lani, Brittany and Vernon along with his grand and great-grandchildren.

Swanson funeral homehandled funeral services. Pride was interned at Woodlawn Cemetery on May 8.

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