Colleagues Remember El Paso Adman, Booster

Richard Mithoff, a Southwest advertising legend, was laid to rest on June 7.

Mithoff, 81, was chairman emeritus of Mithoff Burton Partners, the El Paso, Texas, shop his father, Warren Mithoff, opened in 1931.

Along the way, said MBP creative director Peter Fraire, “Dick held every job from “runner to president to chief executive officer.”

With his father, Mithoff was also a charter member of Worldwide Partners, the network of independent agencies, originally Affiliated Advertising Agencies International, that dates back to the 1930s. “Dick’s leadership was always exercised with gentle grace,” said WP chief executive Patricia Fiske. “He could mentor without meddling.”

It was on the job and in his beloved El Paso, however, where Mithoff’s generosity and caring came to the fore.

“Dick brought a high level of integrity to our business,” said agency president Bill Burton. Fraire, a 16-year veteran, remembers Mithoff as an “ever-present presence. He was a dependable, loyal and honorable man, totally committed to his agency and his people.”

His higher commitment was to his hometown, a city that has never enjoyed the boost of “Sun-belt dynamics,” a combination of low-cost labor, good transportation and tax benefits that sparked so much development in other Southwest and Southeast cities.

“El Paso doesn’t have a lot of benefactors,” Fraire told Adweek. “Dick was generous with his time, his money and his agency to help better the city. This commitment was unshakable.”

The list of boards and organizations Mithoff served on or volunteered for span-ned his adult life. Those groups included the State National Bank of El Paso, the city’s Commercial and Industrial Foundation, the Texas Association of Businesses and Chambers of Commerce, and the El Paso Museum of Art.

He is survived by his wife, Frances, sons Richard, Robert and Raymond, and their families.

Contributions can be made to the Richard & Frances Mithoff Scholarship Fund, c/o the University of Texas at El Paso, or the Warren T. Mithoff Scholarship Fund, c/o El Paso Community Foundation, PO Box 272, El Paso, Texas 79943.