In Memoriam: PPAI Hall Of Fame Member Don Lafferre, CAS
As reported Monday in a PPB Newslink Breaking News release, Don Lafferre, CAS, owner of Priority Promotions, a St. Louis-based distributor, and the 2014 PPAI Hall of Fame inductee, passed away on Tuesday, December 22. He was 87.
Lafferre attended Indiana State University after serving in the U.S. Navy. While a senior, an associate professor recommended Don for a position with a local promotional products firm, Terre Haute Advertising (THADCO). Although he was an accounting student, he accepted the interview and took a position with THADCO as a sales manager. Lafferre continued in the promotional products industry for 64 years.
For most of his career, Lafferre worked to support the progress and success of the industry, including as a member of the PPAI Board of Directors, PPAI committees and advisory councils and for landmark legislative actions. He was a consummate ambassador, writer and activist, and was one of the most fervent speakers in the PPAI ADvocate program, speaking in support of the promotional products industry to educate businesses, community groups and schools on the power of promotional products.
While serving on the PPAI Board of Directors, Lafferre contributed to the formation of the Regional Association Committee and the recommendation to move the Association headquarters from Chicago to Irving, Texas, and helped facilitate the acquisition of the industry's premier trade publication now known as PPB, and the creation of a fair dues structure. Lafferre was inducted into the PPAI Hall of Fame at The PPAI Expo 2014.
“Don was humbled, honored and appreciative of the award, and to be recognized among people who were icons, pioneers and mentors to Don in his early years in the business,” says Dave Lafferre, his son. “Did you ever see a child at Christmas looking at the gifts under the tree? Don had that same inner child ‘glow’ every time someone mentioned his Hall of Fame status.”
Outside of the promotional products industry, Lafferre’s passions included the city of Florissant, the St. Louis, Missouri suburb he moved to in 1960. At the mayor’s request, he joined the first Florissant Senior Commission Board, and for the past 15 years worked to improve activities for senior citizens in the community. His efforts were rewarded last year, when Florissant was named the No. 1 small city in America to retire to by Movoto.com. Lafferre was also active in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men’s fraternal service organization that supported church and local communities with service and philanthropic efforts.
Lafferre is survived by his wife, Dennise; daughter and son-in-law, Jean and Brian (Lafferre) McFerron; son, Dave; brother, Tom Lafferre; granddaughter and grandson-in-law, Alyssa (Lafferre) and Tylor Lampkin; and great-grandson Rigby Jax Lampkin.
Services were held for Lafferre today at St. Norbert’s Catholic Church in Florissant. The family asks that donations be made his honor to the Promotional Products Education Fund (PPEF), or memorials to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
In August 2012, the PPAI Board of Directors voted to create a Hall of Fame Memorial Program utilizing PPEF’s Named Scholarships to honor Hall of Fame members for their lifetime contributions to the Association and industry. The PPAI Board will match donations up to $2,500 to fulfill the $5,000 commitment needed to create a Named Scholarship through the PPEF. To date, HOF Named Scholarships have been created in memory of Gene Cesario, Marvin Spike and H.D. Joe Stratton.
To make a gift to establish a scholarship in Don Lafferre’s name, send a check payable to PPEF mentioning Lafferre in the memo line and mail it to PPEF, 3125 Skyway Circle North, Irving, Texas 75038. Gifts can also be made online at www.ppef.us. Click on Donate and enter the gift as a Memorial/Honorary gift.