Public relations pioneer Aaron Cushman dies at 96
Aaron Cushman, a public relations executive who founded Chicago-based agency Aaron D. Cushman and Associates, died on April 17. He was 96 years old.
Cushman was born August 29, 1924 in Chicago. A decorated WWII combat pilot, he served in the United States Air Force from 1943 to 1945 and again served from 1950 to 1952 with Strategic Air Command during the Korean War.
After a stint as advertising director for the Chicago Lake Front Fair, Cushman founded Aaron D. Cushman and Associates in 1952. At first he mainly represented local clients in the entertainment business which eventually led him to work with celebrities such as the Three Stooges, Milton Berle, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Sammy Davis Jr., Gene Autry, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Sarah Vaughan.
The agency grew to be, at one point, the 10th largest independent public relations firm in the United States, now with additional offices in New York, Los Angeles, St. Louis and Omaha, Nebraska. Its clients included Motorola, Con Agra, Quaker Oats, Marriott Hotels, Century 21 Real Estate, Philip Morris USA, RGA Reinsurance and the companies Chrysler and Ford Motor.
The Cushman agency has also managed tourism marketing for a number of foreign governments, including Mexico, Canada, Sweden, Singapore, Cayman Islands and South Korea. Other tourism accounts include Sandals Resorts and American Orient Express.
Notably, Cushman’s firm was the go-to agency for the Chicago White Sox from 1959 to 1975. Cushman later became part-owner of the team and joined its board of directors.
Former journalist Thomas Amberg joined Aaron D. Cushman and Associates in 1983 and bought it fourteen years later, renaming it Cushman / Amberg Communications. Cushman / Amberg acquired Chicago-based Chuck Werle and Associates in 2000, as well as marketing and public relations store HealthInfo Direct in 2006. The agency closed in 2012.
After retiring from his agency, Cushman became an author, writing “A Passion for Winning: Fifty Years of Promoting Legendary People and Products” in 2004, which focused on his five-decade career in the industry. public relations. This was followed by another book, “Public Relations Impact the World,” in 2016.
Cushman was also a past president of the Publicity Club of Chicago, a member of the executive committee of the Public Relations Society of America, president of the Chicago chapter of the Counselors Academy, president of Public Relations Organization International, and a member of the Society of American Travel Writers. ‘Board of Directors.
He is predeceased by his wife Doris and a grandchild. He is survived by children Gary Cushman, Amy Wilton (Tom Lichamer) and Pamela Cushman (Randy Miller); as well as nine grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.