Jim Avery passed away on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, at his home in Cannon Beach, Ore., of a heart attack. He was 70 years old.
Jim was born in Greybull, Wyo., to Morris and Plet Avery and graduated from Greybull High School in 1965. He obtained his pilot license as a teen and worked for his dad at Avery Aviation. Upon graduation he went to school in Hawaii until called on his LDS Mission to Ireland for two years. After returning home, he finished his schooling at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, from which he graduated in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in advertising. Jim’s advertising career took off from there, and as a professional he worked for many large multi-national agencies in both new product development and new market development and provided freelance planning work for many well-known brands, financial institutions, and medical service providers.
After a 17-year career in Chicago and New York, Jim felt the call to teach. He accepted a position in Eugene, Ore., where he eventually met his wife Janet. Jim and Janet had two sons, Zach and Max. Jim and his family moved to Eagle River, Alaska, where Jim taught at the University. He also taught at several other universities before ending up at the University of Oklahoma. With his experience he was invited to give professional development seminars for many companies, government groups, and advertising associations all over the world. He travelled the world as a guest professor at universities in Asia, Europe, Africa, and South America. Within the United States he was a legal advertising expert. He also served two terms on the National Advertising Review Board of the American Advertising Federation.
After becoming a full professor at the University of Oklahoma, he led Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication’s advertising program to national recognition. He also held the Gaylord Family Professorship and was the first to hold the Paul Massad Chair of Strategic Communication. Jim was recognized for his accomplishments at the university with awards such as the JayMac Teaching Award, the American Academy of Advertising and AEJMC. Jim retired in 2015 but stayed on as an adjunct professor of account planning.
In his spare time, Jim wrote a syndicated newspaper column, The Advertising Workshop. He had over a hundred of his articles to academics and professionals published. Jim Avery is the author of the book “Advertising Campaign Planning,” which is currently in its fourth edition, has been translated into four languages, and is in the required curriculum at over 150 universities.
Jim was a brilliant man, with a quick wit, and a dry sense of humor. He cared very much that the students in his classes went on to success. Many of his students have written memorials stating how he was instrumental in their careers. Jim Avery was a huge presence in this world and will leave a lasting legacy with those that he taught, lives that he changed, and those who knew and loved him. Jim is survived by his wife Janet, his sons Zach and Max, sisters Ednis Smith and Lynne Small, and many nieces and nephews. A Gaylord College scholarship is being set up in Jim’s honor at OU.