ShareThis Page
Satiric writer Bob McCully often showed compassionate side |

Satiric writer Bob McCully often showed compassionate side

Although Bob McCully was recognized as one of the top advertising and public relations practitioners in this part of the country, he also was known for the satirical musical revues he wrote and often performed.

And for people who were hungry, homeless or needed a helping hand, the McCully household in Point Breeze served as a temporary mission, said stepson Michael Clark of Maryland.

“Bob loved dogs, so the door was also open for homeless strays,” Clark added.

Robert McCully, former director of communications and advertising for Ketchum Inc., died Sunday, Aug. 28, 2011, in UPMC Presbyterian in Oakland. He was 88.

During World War II, the Navy recognized Mr. McCully’s writing skills and assigned him to a base in California, where he handled dispatches between naval installations in the Pacific.

Mr. McCully’s interest in satirical writing became evident during the years he was attending Peabody High School in East Liberty. He would sell gags to nationally known writers such as Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip.

“Bob still kept some of the letters of encouragement he received from Schulz through the years,” Clark added.

He recalled one of Mr. McCully’s favorite sayings: “The more I get to know people, the more I like my dog.”

Michael Clark said Mr. McCully had a command of the English language and would use uncommon words, but not ostentatiously.

In addition to using his satirical talents in writing gags for cartoonists, Mr. McCully was director of communications and advertising for Ketchum Inc. His clients included Westinghouse Electric Corp., U.S. Steel., Blue Cross of Western Pennsylvania, Associated Occupational Therapists, the University of Pittsburgh and Allegheny and Westminster colleges.

While at a business meeting in Kaufmann’s Department Store, Downtown, he met Barbara Clark, who at the time was Kaufmann’s vice president of advertising. They were married in 1976.

“My mother was a staunch Democrat,” Michael Clark said. “Bob was a rock-ribbed Republican. So they agreed to cancel out each others’ vote.”

The Rev. Leslie Rymer, associate rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside, recalled Mr. McCully’s love and dedication for his wife. After her death in the 1990s, he planted a tree on church property at Shady Avenue and Walnut Street.

In the 1970s and ’80s, Mr. McCully teamed up with noted guitarist Joe Negri, who today teaches guitar at the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University.

“Those were exciting days,” Negri said. “We started out at the Little Lake Theater, where we produced our first satirical production, ‘An Evening Without Desdemona Fink.’

“Although Bob was stoic when it came to dealing with the talent, we had fun,” Negri added. Mr. McCully had the idea of adding “Fink” to the name of the Shakespeare character.

During his career, Mr. McCully wrote for Rege Cordic’s radio program and Sterling Yates’ TV show, both on KDKA.

In addition to his stepson, Mr. McCully is survived by his stepchildren, Patrick Clark of North Carolina and Sheri Arti of Swissvale, and five grandchildren.

Mr. McCully was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara Clark McCully and a brother, Paul McCully.

Burial will be private. A memorial is being planned.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.