Remembering Jim Newcombe

By Staff Posted on Aug 22, 2014

Advertising great Jim Newcombe passed away this past July. Two of his longtime friends and colleagues reflect on Jim’s talent and, most importantly, his friendship. 
I had the honor of being one of Jim's many creative partners for a number of years at Rice & Rice in Minneapolis, and later, the joy of introducing him to new ones at DDB in Chicago. We remained friends long after Jim's life and career moved on to other parts of the country.
In 2006, I saw Jim in New York for what we did not realize at the moment was the last time. Friends from Chicago, Minneapolis & New York had gathered for my ADC Hall of Fame Induction. 
Remembering those many years, words about Jim that come to mind are: sweet, funny, razor-sharp wit, egoless, curious, preppy, voracious appetite (food & ideas), organized to a fault, fast on his feet (mentally), frugal (couldn't resist that one), never a mean word to say about anyone and, forever young. 
Now, I'm smiling again as memories of Jim are always cheerful. I know many thoughts and prayers are with Jim's family as we celebrate his life & legacy and keep his memory fresh.
Nancy Rice
Founding Partner, Fallon McElligott Rice
Faculty, Minneapolis College of Art & Design (MCAD)
It's perhaps sad that I actually remember this, but Jim was the first copywriter that I got into the One Show annual with. It was a mere merit award for a small-space newspaper campaign for a client named Dinkytown Hairstylists, but it meant a lot to us cubs. I think the year was 1981. 
Jim and I, frustrated by our day jobs at the time, had formed a small freelance "ad agency" called Advertising Au Gratin. From its virtual office, we created campaigns for clients ranging from small restaurants to sun tanning parlors, and had an indecent amount of fun doing it.
Jim and I had gone to college at the University of Minnesota together and worked at the student newspaper together. We went on dates together and we went on ski vacations together. Heck, we even worked at our first job out of college together at a small shop in Minneapolis named Paragon Advertising.
Jim was an ardent student of advertising, well read and had a keen wit. It showed in his thoughtful work as a copywriter at his various jobs throughout his career. Jim was very youthful in appearance, always appearing about a decade younger than he actually was, and I think it disarmed people who expected less of him and his awesome talent.
I lost track of Jim in recent years, but not for lack of trying. Or perhaps I just didn't try hard enough.
Today when I think of Jim, I can't help but smile. I smile because of his boyishness, his passion for this crazy business and his unending ability to make me smile so many years ago.
Bob Barrie
Partner & ECD
Barrie D'Rozario DiLorenzo


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