Henry Reid Blynn, 86, ad executive

Henry R. Blynn
Henry R. Blynn
Posted: January 17, 2014

Henry Reid Blynn, 86, of Newtown Square, an advertising executive, died Saturday, Jan. 4, of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at his second home in Vero Beach, Fla.

Mr. Blynn, known as Harry, was part of publisher Henry R. Luce's inaugural sales team at Sports Illustrated. He came aboard a year before publication of the first issue in 1954, commuting to New York from Philadelphia.

In the early 1970s, he joined the Aitken Kynett Advertising Agency in Philadelphia, where he rose to vice president. He was instrumental in selling the firm to advertising giant Lewis Gilman in the 1980s.

From there, Mr. Blynn went to the Philadelphia firm Winchell Financial Printing to form an advertising division. In 1987, he formed his own agency, Marketing Communications Associates, which he built and then sold to the Philadelphia firm Tierney Communications in 1999.

His son Henry Reid Blynn Jr. said his father's interest in psychology and business combined with his "uncanny communication skills" made him uniquely suited for the advertising industry. Mr. Blynn always commanded respect but tempered that with a sense of humor, his son said.

Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Blynn attended Chestnut Hill Academy for several years. When the school was closed during World War II, he transferred to Episcopal Academy, from which he graduated in 1945.

He attended Princeton University, where he was a member of the ROTC and the Cap and Gown Club, and a manager of the rugby team. During that time, Mr. Blynn also served as a quartermaster in the Navy. He returned to his studies and earned a bachelor's degree in psychology in 1949.

In 1954, Mr. Blynn married Nancy McAvity of Saint John, New Brunswick. They were married 23 years before divorcing. She died in 2010.

In 1978, he married the former Sydney Purviance. They created a blended family of eight children and stepchildren, and 17 grandchildren and step-grandchildren. At various times, he lived in Wayne and Newtown Square.

Active in his community, Mr. Blynn founded the Delmont Youth Hockey Club in Villanova before the Flyers came to town in 1967. Once they appeared, he involved the players in clinics during the late 1960s.

He was a member of the Merion Golf Club, Gulph Mills Golf Club, and the Racquet Club. He volunteered with Planned Parenthood of Philadelphia.

Sailing was his passion. He spent summers in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, where he sailed, and took trips to the British Virgin Islands.

In retirement, Mr. Blynn enjoyed golf and fishing in Vero Beach. He coined the phrase "Keep Vero Vero" as part of a public campaign to maintain the town's pristine character. "It worked," his son said.

Surviving, besides his grandchildren, son, and wife of 36 years, are another son, Lewis Clarke Blynn; daughters Frances Blynn Baxter and Alexandra Blynn Smith; and stepchildren Alexandra Van Alen Frazier, William Van Alen III, Dina Van Alen Gibson, and Lucas P. Van Alen.

A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Community Church of Vero Beach, 1901 23d St., Vero Beach, Fla. 32960. Burial is private.

Donations may be made to Nurturing Minds Inc., Box 144, Valley Forge, Pa. 19481. to benefit a girls' school in Tanzania.




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