Remembering Paul Tilley

Feb 28, 2008  •  Post A Comment

In a chapel nearly packed to its 700-seat capacity, family and friends remembered Paul Tilley as a creative and funny man with a deeply sensitive side during a memorial service today.
The 40-year-old managing creative director of DDB, Chicago, died Friday after falling from Chicago’s Fairmont Hotel adjacent to the agency’s offices. His death was ruled a suicide by the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Among attendees from the agency at the service were Chairman Emeritus Keith Reinhard; CEO Chuck Brymer; Chairman-Chief Creative Officer Bob Scarpelli and President-CEO of DDB Chicago Rick Carpenter. Representatives from clients McDonald’s and State Farm also turned out.
At the service, held at Northwestern University’s Alice Millar Chapel, of which Mr. Tilley was a proud alumnus, college friend David Warner eulogized him as an example of both yin and yang. Mr. Tilley had, he said, a “deep and heartfelt emotional side” and an ability to “make even the most mundane things sidesplitting.”
“I’ve never known a man with a hunger for life that exceeded his,” Mr. Warner said. “He counted on us to keep him grounded.” Left unsaid was any discussion of what apparently caused Mr. Tilley to take his life.
Mr. Warner described his friend as a having a presence that preceded him. The two men met at Northwestern through mutual friends, but Mr. Warner said he’d been hearing about his buddy long before their introduction. “I met Paul Tilley before I’d even met Paul Tilley,” he said.
Mr. Tilley’s sister, Elizabeth Smith, spoke of her brother’s natural musical talent and the sensitive side that “became more apparent as he got older.” She said a DDB executive had described him as a “supernova.”
Friends John Arndt and Stuart Bohart and Mr. Tilley’s wife, Cristina, and all spoke on his behalf. In addition to his wife, Mr. Tilley is survived by two young daughters.


  1. I was so very sad to hear about Paul Tilley. I knew him in highschool. He was my senior year boyfriend and senior prom date. He was a wonderful and special person, so funny,talented ,and sensitive.I am so sad that his life became too hard for him to handle. I pray for his wife, mother,sister,and 2 daughters.May God Bless you all during this difficult time.My prayers are with you. I am so sad for everyone that knew him and worked with him. I lost touch with him a long time ago but know that he had a way of making everyone happy.I pray that his family’s special memories of all the good times with Paul gives them peace.
    Love, Whitney Hawsey Gowan

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