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Lyle Metzdorf, Aug. 16, 1935 - Feb. 18, 2002

Posted on February 18, 2002
by Lou Congelio

Lyle Metzdorf, 67, Houston, formerly of Independence, died Monday, Feb. 18, 2002, in a fire aboard his sailboat while docked in Charleston, S.C.

Mr. Metzdorf was born Aug. 16, 1935, in Kansas. He was recognized as a creative and inventive personality in the advertising agency business. He founded one of the largest advertising agencies in the Southwest. He was a 1953 graduate of William Chrisman High School. He excelled at sports and attended college with an athletic scholarship and later the Kansas City Art Institute. After leaving the military, he began his career as a gag writer and graphic designer with Hallmark Cards in Kansas City. Relocating to Houston, he opened an advertising agency.

He was known for producing creative ads and for being the mentor of numerous art directors as well as writers. His company produced many pro bono campaigns for community and charitable organizations. He is perhaps most well known for his creative association with Blue Bell Creameries.

His creative credentials and credits include receiving awards from the New York Art Directors Club, the Clio, the Advertising Club of New York, the One Show, the Los Angeles Art Directors Club, the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Graphis Magazine, Communication Arts Magazine, the United State Film Festival and the Houston Film Festival. He was chosen the Southwest's first All Star Creative Director by Ad Week Magazine.

He was the 1989 New York Art Directors Awards Show chairman and served as first vice president of the New York Art Directors Club in 1988. In addition, he was chosen as the New York Art Directors Club representative to speak on American advertising in Japan. An ardent blue water sailboat racer, he successfully participated in numerous offshore events, winning acclaim for his sportsmanship and sailing abilities.

His survivors include his wife of 34 years, Martha Metzdorf, Houston; a son, Lance, Charleston; a daughter, Lisa; four grandchildren; and two brothers, Gary and Larry Metzdorf, both of Independence.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Lakewood Yacht Club, 2425 NASA Road 1, Houston. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to a scholarship fund in Mr. Metzdorf's name. Mail to: Advertising Foundation of Houston, GHCF, 4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 317, Houston, Texas 77027. Arrangements are under the direction of the George H. Lewis and Sons Funeral Home, Houston.

Metzdorf, Lyle - LYLE METZDORF, recognized as one of the most creative and inventive personalities in the advertising agency business, perished during a fire aboard his sailboat while ... Published in the Houston Chronicle from 2/24/2002 - 2/26/2002.


Lyle Metzdorf passes away

Long-time Houston and New York advertising executive Lyle Metzdorf, 67, died of smoke inhalation on Monday, February 18, in a fire aboard his sailboat in a Charleston, S.C, marina. The fire was believed to be accidental.

Metzdorf opened his first ad agency in Houston in the early 1960s. In 1983, it was purchased by the Interpublic Group of Companies, and Metzdorf moved to New York as senior vice president and associate creative director at Interpublic’s Marschalk Co.

He became editor of Graphis Magazine in the mid-1980s and then served as president of Jonson, Pirtle, Pederson, Alcorn, Metzdorf & Hess, which he referred to as “a now defunct NY design firm with the world’s longest name.” In the early 1990s, he returned to Houston and opened Metzdorf Inc.

A winner of every major advertising award from the Clios and the One show to the Art Directors Club of New York, Metzdorf is perhaps best remembered for his stellar work for Blue Bell ice cream, an account he held since 1969. He is credited with helping the company grow from its 1% share of the Houston market to a 60% share and the third best-selling brand in the U.S.

“Everyone who came in contact with him in this business grew because of his high standards … He wanted to do advertising that would compete with New York agencies,” says Ellie Malavis, former Metzdorf employee and head of Ellie Malavis Creative Services.

Chuck Carlberg, who began his career at Metzdorf Advertising and eventually opened up his own shop was Lyle’s first art director and fifth employee. “He was the best mentor and teacher I could have had … The stories of Lyle being tough are true,” says Carlberg, “and all of us who went through Metzdorf Advertising were much the better for it.”

Scott Black, of BRSG, said that at one time, Metzdorf mentioned that he wanted a Viking funeral. “He got his wish. Lyle was the consummate advertising man, a genius at perfection in his craft of creative, [and] almost relentless in his pursuit of perfection in the execution of his visions. I think Lyle should be and will be remembered as one of the finest creative minds to ever come out of the Southwest advertising industry. We have all lost at rue legend.”

Lyle Metzdorf is survived by his wife Martha, son Lance, daughter Lisa, four grandchildren and two brothers. Scholarship contributions in memory of Lyle Metzdorf can be made to the Advertising Foundation of Houston GHCF, 4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 317, Houston TX 77027.

Tax deductible contributions honoring or in memory of an individual may be directed to the Greater Houston Community Foundation at:
Advertising Foundation of Houston Fund
4550 Post Oak Place, Suite 307
Houston, TX 77027

Lou on 4-Jul-12 5:56 PM permalink
Your grandfather is a Houston legend! He wasn't just good, artistic and wonderful; he was driven, madly creative and a mentor to many of Houston's finest creatives! Be very proud to share his name.
Warmest regards,
Lou Congelio

martha on 4-Jul-12 5:36 PM permalink
i got curious and looked all this up about my grandfather, that was apparently smart since i have stumbled upon all this. I love the fact that he was as artistic as i am. maybe one day i should make a advertising agency, that would be fun.

Catherine on 3-Jul-09 4:02 PM permalink
Marth, I have tried these past years to contact you but all the info I have is old...Please contact me at Thanks. Catherine

pamela on 26-Oct-08 2:49 PM permalink
I am Lyle's long time sister in law. Martha I have tried to contact you but all of the numbers I have are invalid. Please contact me 772-234-4444

Tom on 23-Mar-07 3:20 PM permalink
I knew Lyle and we worked together for a short time at United Film Service in Kansas City, MO. He was a talented person.

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