Obituary: Howard Colwell, 88

Howard Colwell
Howard Colwell

Howard “Howie” Otis Colwell, 88, died April 18, 2018 in Exeter, NH.

Howie was born on September 16, 1929, in New Rochelle, NY, to writer and advertising mogul Robert Talcott Colwell and Louise (Otis) Colwell. Raised in Pelham Manor, Howie was one of three children.

He graduated from Pelham High School ’47, Deerfield Academy ’48 and Colgate University ’53. At Colgate, Howie was a Phi Beta Kappa and member of Delta Upsilon Fraternity. His daughter, Mary ’81 and son Chris ’83 are also among the 14 Colwell Colgate graduates.

Howie is survived by his wife, Lydia (Irvine) Colwell, his son, John Colwell, daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Jim Koon, son and daughter-in-law, Christian and Kathleen Colwell, grandchildren Ross Koon, Stuart Koon, Hope Koon, Henry Koon, Emily Colwell, Katherine Colwell, great-grandchildren Orion and Eula Koon, stepchildren Laura Gunning, Sarah Ramsay and Andrew Macdonald.

He was predeceased by his brother, Richard Colwell, sister, Susan Tritsch, and stepdaughter Marcia Macdonald.

Howie enjoyed a wildly successful career in advertising. While his father was a director of J. Walter Thompson, and founder of SSC&B, Howie did it on his own. Howie started in the mailroom of BBDO Advertising, and soon became a copy boy. Howie worked as a copywriter and jingle writer for Tatham-Laird & Kudner, and became the youngest creative Director of a major New York Advertising agency.

He continued as creative director for William Esty Agency, and notably landed the first Datsun car campaign in North America. He wrote campaigns for Winston Cigaretts, Noxema, Schick, Vaseline Intensive Care, Shickhaus Meats, Eveready batteries, Oreo Cookies, Irish Spring Soap, among others. He later moved to be in-house creative director for Combe, Inc., and wrote all of the Combe advertising until his retirement in 2006.

Howie was an active and longtime member of the Wilton Congregational Church. He was a linguist, writer, and spoke fluent German. He was an avid golfer, piano player, and loved to travel. He skied in Vermont every year until age 87.

After the death of his first wife, Barbara Hrosenchick, Howie connected with his high school sweetheart, Lydia Irvine Macdonald, and they later wed on April 6, 2002.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, May 4, 2018 at 1:30 PM at RiverWoods of Exeter in the Great Bay Room, 7 Riverwoods Dr., Exeter, NH. Services will be held in Wilton, CT. to be announced.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Riverwoods Annual Appeal or Riverwoods Employee Appreciation Fund, 7 Riverwoods Drive, Exeter, NH 03833;