William J. Conlon, age 96 of Norwalk, passed away at his home on Friday, September 25, 2020. Born and raised in New York City on August 15, 1924, his beloved parents were Nettie Waldron of Netcong, NJ and Andrew J. Conlon of New York City along with his two younger brothers Robert and Kenneth. William graduated from Immaculate Conception Catholic School, where he majored in art and music. He graduated with honors and was awarded the Saint Gaudens Medal and the Guggenhiem Award for his art studies. He studied the trumpet at the Hartnet School of Music and later became a professional musician playing with bands around New York City. He belonged to the Musicians Union, Local 802. He attended Pratt Institute and later did post graduate work with the notable Hershel Levitt in Advanced Design.
William was an Army veteran of WWII where he saw combat with the 96th Infantry Division in the Pacific Theatre. He made two first wave landings in the battles of Leyte Island in the Phillipines and on Okinawa, Japan. Among his citations awarded him was the Soldiers medal for saving the life of a friend and fellow soldier. He was a member of the VFW and The American Legion.
He became an Art Director with several art studios and advertising agencies in New York. One of his first assignments for the Kudner Agency was as head art director for the Eisenhower presidential campaign in Washington, DC in the 1950’s. His last agency was with J. Walter Thompson where he became a Vice-President, Associate Creative Director. One of the many accounts William worked on that he loved was the United States Marine Corps. He was responsible, along with Tom Mabley, for coming up with the slogan “The Marines are looking for a few good men”.
Bill was an artist member of the Society of Illustrators since 1960. He received numerous awards from the NY Art Directors Club, The One Show and Cleos for his television work. Later, he formed his own design corporation in Connecticut. One of the notable clients was the Colorforms Company. Bill worked on creating experimental toy designs and produced and designed numerous games.
In addition to his wife Jeanne are his son Kevin and his wife Meg; three daughters, Janice Fancher, Darcie C. Szwec and Daryl C. O’Hara along with their husbands Gary Fancher, Raymond Szwec and Kieran O’Hara, his six grandchildren Nicole Roberts and husband Sean, Kelly Fancher, Gillian and William Szwec, Christopher and Michael O’Hara, and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Bill was predeceased by his brothers Kenneth, Robert and his half-brother Kerry and his half-sister Kathleen survives him.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 11 AM at St. Jerome Church, 23 Half Mile Rd., Norwalk. Burial with military honors will follow at St. John Cemetery in Norwalk. In lieu of flowers, donations in Bill’s name may be made to PAWS (www.pawsct.org).
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