William J. Stern, 75, passed away on Jan. 5, 2022 after a severe traumatic brain injury.
He grew up in Shaker Heights and attended The Ohio State University. He started his advertising career at Ogilvy & Mather advertising agency in New York City in 1969. Prior to returning to Cleveland, Bill was Vice President, Director of Marketing for Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1972, he returned to Cleveland and became president/CEO of Stern Advertising.
As a brilliant, creative marketing man, Bill was responsible for many iconic advertising tag lines such as “Every Kiss Begins With Kay,” “He Went to Jared,” and campaigns for jewelry lines by Jane Seymour, Neil Lane and Leo Diamond. Bill loved Cleveland sports and created memorable McDonalds commercials featuring Brad Daugherty, Carlos Baerga, Albert Belle, Jim Thome and Michael Dean Perry.
Bill loved Cleveland and created signature lines for The Plain Dealer, Cleveland’s largest newspaper: “Believe in Cleveland;” “New York’s the Big Apple, but Cleveland’s a Plum;” and “When the News Breaks, We Put it Together”.
Bill strove for excellence in every aspect of his work. An advertising commercial or print ad was not allowed to leave the agency until it was honed and polished and perfect. Bill was inducted into the American Advertising Federation of Cleveland’s Hall of Fame in 2009.
Although Bill loved his family most, he was especially proud to sit on the Board of his Temple, Tifereth Israel. He was a founding member of the Great Harbor Yacht Club in Nantucket, Mass., and also a founding member of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Ohio.
Bill was “larger than life” and a warm, generous person who was interested in everyone and everything around him. He had an avid and impeccable sense of humor. As much as Bill held the floor and drew the light to himself, he used his charisma to make others feel special.
Bill is survived by his beloved wife of 50 years, Janet; their children, Lauren (Eric) Scherr and David (Danielle); their grandchildren Ethan, Graydon, Grant and Caroline; and brother, Dr. Don Stern of Boston. Bill was preceded in death by his parents, Nelson Stern and Shirley Whitman Bernstein.
A private family service will be held Jan. 10 at The Temple-Tifereth Israel followed by interment at Mayfield Cemetery. Friends who wish to view the service may do so by going to ttti.org at 2 p.m. Jan. 10. Select, live-stream, select chapel.
Due to the pandemic, family requests no visitation.
There will be a celebration of life to follow in the summer.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests gifts to Bellefaire JCB.
Arrangements under the direction of Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz Memorial Chapel.