Globe-Trotting Media Guru Dan McConnell, 72


No obituary for Dan McConnell can match the words that he himself provided for his biography, at the time of his induction as a MARKETING IMMORTAL in May of 2015 (read here).

Dan died on May 8 and left his many friends and admirers in the Seattle marcomm community stunned and saddened. His obituary in The Seattle Times on Sunday, May 14, provided the additional information that J. Daniel McConnell was born Oct. 5, 1944 in Noblesville, IN, and that a celebration of his life will be held at 6:30pm, June 29, at Chihuly Garden and Glass at Seattle Center.

Famed local mountaineer Lou Whittaker said, “Dan McConnell was a dear friend. His fundraising and media-relations skills were essential to the first American ascent of the North Face of Mount Everest. He was a hell of an athlete, hiking the second base camp of the climb. From the base camp, he told the world of our challenges and ultimate success. I’m really going to miss him.”

And former colleague and fellow MARKETING IMMORTAL, Ron Elgin, offered this remembrance: “In 1983, Dan and his wife, Jane, joined their company with Elgin Syferd and remained valued partners for the next 20-plus years. Dan became iconic in our industry through his work in mountaineering, ’round-the-world sailing races, the Olympics and many, many other ventures. More importantly, he was one of the most beloved icons for his always-positive personality, his natural-born teaching and mentoring abilities and his love of life and partner, Jane. We’re all going to miss him, but take joy in knowing he’s already made Heaven a better place by introducing music-Fridays every week at 4pm. Rest easy, my friend, you’ve earned it.”

Another former colleague, Scott Janzen, echoed Elgin’s comments in a Facebook post: “Dan was a good man who left the world way too soon. I’m having trouble processing the news. This can’t be true. He’s been in my life for more than 20 years. He can’t be gone. I had the pleasure of working with him for more than five years at DDB Seattle. Such a kind and generous man. He always had time to brainstorm or help me with a client strategy. Or just shoot the shit about life.

“One of my favorite memories: every Friday afternoon about 4 o’clock, Dan would haul out speakers from his office at DDB and play some of the most amazing tunes. He’d program different music each week. It wasn’t the weekend until you’d heard music coming from Dan’s office… Dan loved his wife, Jane, more than anything in the world. What a romance—married more than 47 years. He touched so many lives, including mine. Peace, Dan.”

MARKETING publisher Larry Coffman recalls being amazed at Dan’s ability to shed significant pounds on his burly frame, almost at will, in the days when he was handling media relations on-sight for climbs of Mount Everest or Iditarod or ’round-the-world sailing races. He also was a fan of Dan’s eclectic blogs, many of which appeared on this website.