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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

David F. Kennedy, whose advertising agency put Nike on the map, has an 82. died on

He also served six years in the Marine Corps Reserve.

Mr. Kennedy met Kathleen Murphy in 1961 through a fraternity brother in Colorado who was dating her sister. They married in 1963, moved to Chicago and had five children. He is survived by his wife; his daughters Kaitlin, Erin and Siobhan; and a son, Brendan. Another son, Ian, died in 2016.

In Chicago, Mr. Kennedy worked at agencies including Young & Rubicam, Leo Burnett, Needham, and Benton & Bowles. But after more than 16 years in the city, it pains her to return west. In 1979, he was hired in Portland as an art director for the agency then known as McCann-Erickson, where Mr. Widen was working as a copywriter.

“Instead of working quietly on the Chicago Northwestern train, he was now driving Miles Davis or an old Chevy pickup truck with flats and Scruggs,” his daughter Erin Kennedy said in an email.

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Later, Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Widen moved to the William Cain Agency, where they worked on plywood advertising for woodworking parts and pitches for a small but growing company from nearby Beaverton – Nike.

Feeling creatively suffocated, Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Widen died on their own. They introduced Wyden + Kennedy to a labor union hall with a borrowed card table as a desk and a pay phone down the hall. At one point he worked out of a restaurant, to avoid running out to buy coffee.

Naik was his first client. Mr. Wyden’s father, who ran Gerber Advertising Agency in Portland, helped him with the basics of running a business. It grew rapidly.

Much of Wyden + Kennedy’s success was tied to popular campaigns such as Nike and “Bo Knows”, featuring baseball and football player Bo Jackson, and “Mars and Mike”, with filmmaker Spike Lee and basketball star Michael Jordan.

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