Obituary: Joan Murphy Pride, advertising executive

  • Article by: JEREMY OLSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 3, 2013 - 8:36 PM

 

Joan Murphy Pride, an advertising executive whose clients included Dayton’s, General Mills, Pillsbury and 3M, was a risk-taker who knew the value of humor to succeed in a profession dominated by men.

“Her work always had a funny edge,” said her son, Dennis Murphy Anderson. “If she could work some humor in there and get the client to take more of a risk, that is what she would do.”

Pride died Aug. 23 at age 79.

During a long career in Twin Cities advertising, Pride inspired memorable ads about Scotch tape and Dayton’s, and more recently penned a mystery about murder in the Birkebeiner ski race.

One of her Scotch tape ads from the black-and-white television era, for example, featured a man who “couldn’t live without” the tape. He deflated like a balloon when a piece was peeled away from his body.

Pride was passionate about family, and started her own at-home agency to spend more time with her son, then 5, after he left her a note in crayon that it was OK that she missed his grade school carnival and to have fun at work.

“Family was always vitally important,” Anderson said.

She later co-founded Pride, Barber & Pride, a full-service ad agency in Minneapolis.

An avid traveler, Pride retraced the youthful journeys of her own mother, who took a steamer to Europe and trains to the mountains of Italy to find her ancestors. A mass in memory of her life took place in Dimaro, Italy.

After retiring from full-time work in advertising, Pride provided marketing help for the New Departures travel agency and led specialized tours in Europe — such as bridge-playing tours for card enthusiasts.

Pride’s first book came 20 years after a trip to Europe with her friend, the Minnesota poet Phebe Hansen. The two wrote journals about the trip, but didn’t read them immediately, and then realized that their differing viewpoints, bickering and tales from the journey would make an excellent memoir.

It is titled “Not So Fast.’’

Pride wrote two more books, including “Double Cross County,’’ which featured a spunky young ad writer from Minneapolis who gets caught up in a murder mystery in the Birkebeiner ski race in Wisconsin.

In recent years, Pride suffered declining health and required supplemental oxygen, but her son said she remained active — involved in charitable efforts and in events at bookstores to promote her fiction.

“She would love to hand her book to someone who was going to read it,” her son said. “That was her greatest joy.”

Pride married Douglas Anderson in 1956 and then Bob Pride — one of her ad agency partners — in 1977. She is survived by her son, two grandsons and a sister, Patricia Murphy Purcell. Her service took place Saturday at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in the Linden Hills neighborhood where she grew up.

Pride was stubborn and proud, her son said, and never shied from an argument, but was a loyal friend.

“She was that healthy blend of, ‘Oh my God, you’re going to drive me crazy, but I just love you to death,’ ” he said.

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