LOS ANGELES — Harry Martindale, former Pacific Coast director for Fairchild Publications, died Dec. 30 at age 99 in Newport Beach, Calif.
The cause of death was heart failure and pneumonia, according to John B. Fairchild, former chairman and editorial director of Fairchild Publications.
Martindale joined Fairchild in 1945 after leaving the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps, where he served as an officer during World War II. He was married to the late Elizabeth Fairchild, sister of former Fairchild president Louis W. Fairchild, who was John Fairchild’s father.
Martindale was named Pacific Coast director of Fairchild Publications in October 1945 and oversaw all the company’s business and editorial operations on the West Coast. During his tenure, Fairchild published not only WWD, Daily News Record, Men’s Wear, Home Furnishings Daily, Footwear News and Supermarket News, but grew to include newspapers covering the metals, metalworking and electronics industries. In 1970, Martindale retired as a vice president but continued as a member of the board of directors of Fairchild, which was sold to Capital Cities Broadcasting in 1968. Fairchild now is part of Advance Publications Inc.
“He was a big promoter of the fashion industry in Los Angeles in its very early stages,” John Fairchild said. “The thing I liked about him was that he was always a very positive individual and was very eager to try new things. Everyone in my family was deadly opposed to launching W [magazine, like WWD, published by Fairchild and launched in 1972], but he was one of the big supporters of it. It was nice having an older person like that encouraging you.”
Martindale, a sportsman who enjoyed horseback riding and golf, was incredibly social, a direct contrast to the shyness of his late wife, according to John Fairchild. “He was the kind of person who, if you were on a ship sailing across the ocean, would insist on talking with everyone in the dining room, even complete strangers,” Fairchild said. “He’d leave my aunt and I sitting at the table by ourselves while he walked around the room talking to everyone until dessert.”
Sylvia Sheppard, 86, who served under Martindale as the West Coast fashion editor for Fairchild from 1948 until the mid-Sixties, remembered him as an “energetic little man” whose personality was much larger than his stature. He was also responsible for hiring Sheppard’s replacement, Jody Jacobs, who was best known and revered for her tenure at The Los Angeles Times between 1971 and 1985, an era when the sprawl of L.A. was beginning to undergo social, cultural and political changes. Jacobs died on Dec 2 at the age of 82.“Harry really was quite small, although he didn’t seem so because he had a very magnetic personality,” said Sheppard, who worked on WWD, Footwear News and Retailing Daily. “He was the strength behind the buildup of the whole bureau in Los Angeles. He was the instrument for making it cohesive and dynamic.”
His dynamic personality included teasing fellow editors, for which he often had special little quips — some funny, others embarrassing, offered Sheppard.
To one “starchy West Coast magazine editor,” as Sheppard explained, he’d say, “‘Hey, you look pretty good in clothes,’ much to her embarrassment.”
As easily as Martindale could dish quips, he could give to special causes. In 1980, Martindale and his wife funded the Fairchild-Martindale Center for the study of private enterprise. Their gifts funded numerous endeavors, including the E.W. Fairchild Visiting Writer, the E.W. Fairchild Fellowship in American literature and the E.W. Fairchild Library fund at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., Martindale’s alma mater. They also endowed the Fairchild-Martindale Library at Lehigh.
Martindale has no survivors.
Memorial services will be held Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach.
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