PEORIA - Dr. John Clinton Schweitzer, 78, a leading educator and scholar in advertising and mass communication, died Sunday, May 4, 2014, at home in Peoria, surrounded by family.
He was born on Oct. 18, 1935, in Chicago, Ill., to Ellen Boughton Schweitzer and John Jacob Schweitzer. He grew up in Chicago and Battle Creek, Mich.
He graduated from Battle Creek Central High School in 1953, earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University in 1957 and a Master of Arts degree from Western Michigan University in 1959. He received his Ph.D. in 1974 from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
Surviving are his wife, Nancy; three daughters, Lisa Harman-Wakefield (Chuck) of Elizabeth City, N.C., Sue Meyerhofer (Dave) of Austin, Texas, and Sara Schweitzer-Mealey (Michael) of New Bern, N.C.; three stepdaughters, Kathy Tovson (David) of Coppell, Texas, Karen Patton (Eric) of Wheaton, Ill., and Christina Kleiser-Zalesky (Mark) of Knoxville, Tenn.; 13 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. He is also survived by two brothers, Peter (Elaine) of New York and Arizona and David (Nancy) of Battle Creek, Mich.
His parents and a younger brother preceded him in death.
He held the rank of Emeritus Professor in the Department of Communication at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., where he was department chairman from 1993 until 1999. Previously, he taught at Texas Tech University for nine years, where he was Director of Advertising/Public Relations and, later, director of Graduate Studies in the School of Mass Communications and Professor of Communication Studies. Schweitzer spent the 1999-2000 academic year in Bulgaria as a Fulbright Scholar in the Faculty of Journalism, Sofia University, "St. Clement Ohridski," and at the American University in Bulgaria. He was a Visiting Scholar at Hong Baptist University from January to May of 2007. He also lectured at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Shanghai International Studies University and Oxford University in the United Kingdom.
Schweitzer began his newspaper career in 1960 as the personnel manager of Lindsay-Schaub Newspapers in Decatur, Ill.. He moved on to the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer and News as personnel director from 1964 to 1970. He was publisher of the Terre Haute (Ind.) Tribune-Star for three years. He also served as vice president of Belden Associates, a leading newspaper marketing research firm in Dallas, Texas, where he also worked for Bozell-Jacobs advertising agency and owned his own market research company. While in Dallas, he was an adjunct professor of marketing at the University of Texas at Dallas. His research interests focused on international advertising, intercultural advertising and mass communication theory and research. In 1998, he was one of the authors of a successful $21,000 grant request to the Pew Civic Journalism Fund for a study of Peoria's leadership that won a national award. He received grants from the Freedom Forum and the Voice of America, among others. He participated in workshops and seminars conducted by the Pointer Institute and the American Press Institute.
Author or co-author of more than 40 refereed journal articles, he presented more than 50 invited and refereed research papers and addresses at conventions and professional meetings in the United States, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, England, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Russia and Poland. He had been a member of the editorial review board of the Newspaper Research Journal since its inception and served on the editorial board of Forum on Public Policy, a journal of Oxford University, U.K. He was editor of Southwestern Mass Communication Journal prior to his affiliation with Bradley. He was involved in many scholarly organizations, including the Association for Education in Journalism, where he was head of the media management division and co-chair of the Council of Divisions; the American Advertising Federation; International Communication Association; The Korean Marketing Institute; and the Marketing in Asia Group of Korea.
Dr. Schweitzer was active in the Peoria Area World Affairs Council, serving as president in 2012; the League of Women Voters; and was on the advisory board of Look. It's My Book!, where he served as a grants writer. He also was active in Democrat politics, working on Senator Dave Koehler's campaigns.
A memorial service will be held at a future date.
The family asks that Dr. Schweitzer be remembered through contributions to Look. It's My Book!, 310 E. High Point Lane, Peoria, IL 61614.