In Memoriam: Edward N. Ney '49

Amherst College notes the passing of Life Trustee Edward N. Ney '49, '91 Hon., of New York, NY, on Jan. 8, 2014. He was 88 years old.

Obituaries ran in various publications, including Ad Age and Ad Week. A memorial service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 11) at Church of St. Vincent Ferrer, 869 Lexington Avenue at 66th Street, New York. Visitation will be from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday (Jan. 10) at Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home, 1076 Madison Avenue at 81st  Street, New York, NY.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, NYC Chapter's Education and Training Program and sent to: Alzheimer's Association New York City, 360 Lexington Avenue,  4th floor, New York, NY 10017 (

Ney was born on May 26, 1925 in St. Paul, Minnesota, the son of John Joseph and Marie Esther (Noonan) Ney. He was raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and attended John Burroughs School. At Amherst he was involved with the Student and was a member of Psi Upsilon fraternity. Ney left Amherst for service as an ensign in the U.S. Navy Air Corps during World War II; he completed his Amherst degree after the war, graduating rite in History.

Ney served as Alumni Trustee from 1979 to 1985, Term Trustee from 1985 to 1989, and has been a Life Trustee since 1989. He served as class associate agent, class special gifts chairman and honorary president of the Society of the Alumni. In addition, he served on the steering committee for the campaign, development council, major gifts and leadership committee, as well as being the president of the New York Alumni Association. Amherst awarded Ney an honorary LLD at Commencement in 1991.

In 1980, Ney established the Edward N. Ney '46 Professorship in American Institutions. The Ney ’46 Professorship is intended to further scholarly research and teaching concerning American governmental, social, and economic institutions and, in particular, the ways in which they have nurtured and advanced the causes of freedom, equality, and justice. The current Ney ’46 Professor is Hadley Arkes of the Political Science Department.

Ney was a renowned and respected leader in the advertising industry for decades.  He is widely regarded as one of the leading advertising counselors and strategic marketers and served as Chairman and Chairman Emeritus of the Young and Rubicam advertising agency. He served as Y&R's CEO and then Chairman from 1970 to 1989, having joined the agency in 1951.  Ney returned to Y&R in 1999 as Chairman Emeritus.

In the 1970s, Ney was the first to understand that in a changing marketplace clients would benefit from a full range of marketing communications disciplines. He began acquiring companies, pioneering integrated communications – what he then coined The Whole Egg - and acquired the companies that became Young & Rubicam Group. The Whole Egg back then was a radical concept and transformed not only Y&R, but the entire industry.

After Y&R, Ney served as the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, where he played a key role in efforts to expand the U.S. - Canada Free Trade Agreement to Mexico. He spent some time after at Burson-Marsteller, chairing their worldwide Board of Advisors.  In 1995, he also became Chairman of Marsteller Advertising, which became subsumed in Burson-Marsteller in 1979, when they merged.  During his long career at Young & Rubicam, he continued to shape the firm’s diversified global communications framework.

“When I started at Y&R in 1976, it was in the golden days of Ed Ney's tenure,” said David Sable, Global CEO of Y&R in an obituary released by the firm. “His charm was magnetic; his generosity, magnanimous. Ed was known to walk the building, where he talked to everyone he passed, knew everyone's name and always had a question or kind observation to share."

Ney served on the International Advisory Board of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (C.S.I.S.), was a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame, and an Honorary Chairman of The Advertising Council.  He served as a Trustee of The Paley Center for Media and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  Also, he received the Gold Medal (for Advertising) from the International Radio & Television Society in 1989. 

Ney also was a trustee of both the Bush Presidential Library Foundation Texas A&M, College Station, TX, and James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, Houston, TX. He held Honorary Degrees from Amherst College, Georgetown School of Business, Iona College and St. Lawrence University – and was a founding trustee of Hampshire College in 1970.  He served in the United States Navy from 1943 to 1946 and then in the U.S. Navy Reserve from 1947 to 1950.

Ney is survived by his wife, Patricia Murray Wood and has three children from a previous marriage: Nicholas Hayes Ney of Palo Alto, California; Hilary St. Clair Ney of New York City and Michelle Kilduff of Brattleboro, VT, as well as five grandchildren, Kristina, Andrew, Kimberly, Conor and Hunter, and two great-grandchildren.

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