Dick SplittorfFebruary 8, 1922 ~ June 3, 2017 (age 95)
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dick Splittorf at age 95 on June 3, 2017, in Naples, Florida.
Dick was born on Feb. 8, 1922, to Florence and George Splittorf of Cleveland, Ohio, the youngest of three children. In 1930, the family moved to Burlingame, California.
Dick was just 15 when his father died. The tragic loss of his father at such a young age revealed the profound strength of Dick’s character. He worked nights and weekends to support his mother but stayed in school. He would go on to graduate from Burlingame High School and The University of California Berkeley, and later, as a business executive, from the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.
In 1948, while working in San Francisco, Dick met Dorothy Harms. The two wed in April the following year. Theirs was a magical marriage, and they remained deeply in love and intensely devoted to each other for 68 years.
As a Marine Corps officer, Dick served his country in WWII and the Korean War. In 1944, his rifle platoon took part in the 2nd Marine Division’s harrowing but victorious assault on Saipan, an island that Japan boasted would never be taken by U.S. forces. A year later, Dick and his unit were among the first Allied troops to enter and occupy Nagasaki after the U.S. dropped a second atomic bomb on Japan. In 1950, Dick was recalled by the Marine Corps and trained recruits for the Korean War at Camp Pendleton, California, and Recruit Depot San Diego.
For most of his professional life, Dick worked for Sawyer Ferguson Walker Company, one of the nation’s leading newspaper advertising sales representative firms. He joined the firm in San Francisco in 1949. In 1954, the firm chose Dick to manage its Philadelphia office, and in 1962 promoted him to sales manager of its New York City headquarters. In 1969, he was named chairman and CEO. By the time Dick retired in 1986, Sawyer Ferguson Walker had doubled in size and revenue and represented some of the world’s most prestigious newspapers. In recognition of his outstanding contributions and service to his profession, Dick was elected an honorary life member of International Newspaper Advertising and Marketing Executives. Clients and colleagues alike admired and respected Dick as much for his fierce dedication and loyalty to them as for his business acumen. He was the consummate professional.
Outside of work, Dick gave freely of his time to his church and civic organizations and led an active social life. He was a Ruling Elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Greenwich, Connecticut; a member of the The Moorings Presbyterian Church in Naples, Florida; and president of the Home Owners Association in Eastman, New Hampshire, where he and Dorothy had a summer home for years.
He was a lifetime member of The University Club in New York City; a member of The Poor Richard Club and The Vesper Club in Philadelphia; a member of Millbrook Country Club and Greenwich Country Club in Greenwich, Connecticut, and The Club at Pelican Bay in Naples, Florida. He also served a term as a director of The Forum Club of Southwest Florida.
In retirement, Dick traveled widely with Dorothy, played squash and golf, read avidly about U.S. history and world leaders, and provided wise counsel and guidance to his children and grandchildren.
Dick leaves behind his loving wife, Dorothy; son Richard (Carol) Splittorf of Connecticut; daughter Carla (Duncan) McLaughen of Georgia; daughter Judy (Gregory) Arnold of Florida; and grandchildren Bryan and Michael (Casey) Splittorf, and Carly and Garen Arnold.
His sister, Lois Hoover, and brother, George (Pete) Splittorf, predeceased him.
Dick’s love for his family and his country was boundless. He was, and always will be, an inspiration and role model to all who knew him. He was a devoted and generous husband, father and grandfather; a loyal friend and mentor; and a faithful and proud Marine. He lives on in our hearts forever.
A celebration of his life will be held in Naples at The Moorings Presbyterian Church on August 11 at 11:00am. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to The Moorings Presbyterian Church or the charity of your choice.