It’s a sad day for my wife and me since we fondly remember moving to Chicago nearly three decades ago and being quickly taken under the wings of Dan and Ruth Edelman. Their elder son Richard had called on me periodically when I headed public relations at Pitney Bowes in Stamford, CT, and he assured us his parents would be helpful as we acclimated ourselves to the Windy City. Moments after arriving at my new office at Sara Lee Corporation, Dan called and offered to help us understand and discover the greatness of Chicago. Whether his agency was working for us or not, Dan always was there with advice and encouragement as I navigated the Chicago chapters of my career.
Sandra and I will never forget our memorable dinners with Dan and Ruth, often ending at the Lyric Opera. Dan loved the opera and studied the libretto, so he could explain what was happening to his non-opera-savvy guests. He also was sensitive to the fact that few humans can survive a 4-hour Wagner opera and would offer to drive us home after the second intermission. After all, it was approaching midnight on a Monday night.
When I turned 50 something, I told Dan I was contemplating opening my own agency. I’ll never forget his simple and excellent advice: “You’re too old.” That from someone who had just turned 80. As usual, Dan was right.
Ruth also was always there with distinct insights and questions that helped direct my involvement in community organizations. Together, Dan and Ruth had a keen sense of all things Chicago and they helped educate me on where philanthropic dollars would create the greater good while still producing an appropriate level of benefits for the companies where I worked.
Dan’s passing is a sad moment for his family and friends, but if you were lucky enough to know him, you also should take a minute to recall your own favorite Dan Edelman moment—like spiriting his guests out of a painfully long opera.
As your longtime colleague, friend and fellow PR legend, the late Betsy Plank, would say: “Godspeed, my friend.”