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In Memoriam: Richard Weiner, APR, Fellow PRSA

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Richard Weiner, APR, Fellow PRSA, a distinguished 50-plus year member of PRSA and a recipient of the Society’s prestigious Gold Anvil Award, died on Jan. 29 in Miami Beach, Fla. He was 86.

Weiner’s professional and volunteer achievements were varied and significant. He joined Ruder & Finn in 1953 at a salary of $100 a week, and later became a senior vice president and partner there.

In 1968, he founded his own firm, Richard Weiner, Inc., that by 1985 had become one of the 15 largest PR agencies in the United States. The firm was noted for product publicity on behalf of blue-chip clients, including several in the health care field, and launched such famous campaigns as the Cabbage Patch Kids introduction in the early 1980s. 
   
In 1986, Weiner sold the company to the BBDO advertising agency, which then merged with Doyle Dane Bernbach and Needham Harper to form the Omnicom Group. Omnicom merged its three PR companies — Weiner (the largest), Doremus and Porter Novelli — and named the new entity Porter Novelli, where Weiner maintained an office until 2002 when he moved to Florida. 
 
In addition to his consulting work, Weiner was the author of 23 books, and conducted more than 100 workshops for PRSA and other groups such as the National Institutes of Health. He taught public relations at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business, the first such offering for MBA students.

Weiner was one of the first PR professionals to be Accredited by PRSA, and in 1990 was inducted into the College of Fellows and awarded PRSA’s highest individual honor, the Gold Anvil. He received eight Silver Anvils for his work on behalf of clients. 
 
His writing appeared in The New York Times Magazine and Writer’s Digest, among other publications. He contributed a monthly column to PR Tactics for more than five years called “Media Jargon.”

Most recently, he had been at work on a book about gossip, based on his research in the social sciences, and maintained The Gossip Book in addition to serving as a valued mentor to scores of professionals across the country.

Weiner was born on May 10, 1927, in Brooklyn, N.Y. After graduating from high school, he started at the University of Wisconsin at age 16.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Florence, a writer, and two daughters, Jessica Lampert and Stephanie Weiner, as well as four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

This post was originally published in the online edition of PRSA Tactics.

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