“I started to realize,
‘oh, he’s putting
together these clips
to tell a story.’
That’s really what
he loved about (editing).”
David Carr, on his father, Bob
The family of editor Bob Carr, who passed away last month, will host a memorial celebration in his honor at Healy’s bar in Forest Park this Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.
According to Bob’s daughter, Katie, the afternoon has been planned with her father in mind.
“Dad loved telling stories, drinking, and fishing,” she wrote on a Facebook invitation. “Join us for two of the three.”
Over a career that began in the early 70s, Carr built a reputation for excellence that extended far beyond the local advertising community. Working for Chicago post houses like Red Car and Optimus before co-founding NuWorld, he helped top tier brands like Budweiser, Levis, and McDonald’s make commercials that spanned generations.
Along the way, the Chicago native married and had three children — Christopher, David, and Katie. When he began taking his work home with him, they were delighted.
“He would video record us playing sports and he would cut five- or ten-minute highlight reels with clips and music that were like CBS Sports,” recalls David, a professional psychologist. “One of my baseball teams traveled to Peoria for a tournament in the 90s, and Dad made copies for everybody on the team, and we watched it at the end-of-the-year party.”
Carr balanced his professional and personal editing schedule with a passion for sports, and he particularly loved the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Bulls. By sharing the access granted to advertising professionals, he was able to take friends and family to opening days, get them to the stadium club, and even made the way for a few to see Michael Jordan play at the peak of his career.
He also took “a couple different fishing trips a year way up north to Canada,” according to David. “That was kind of his main getaway from work.”
David learned about his father’s professional life by accompanying him to the office on weekends.
“I remember taking my friends down to Optimus and running through the halls,” he says. “They thought it was pretty cool.”
When the kids settled down in his father’s editing suite, he began to understand the “kind of boring” need to “watch the same clip over and over” while his father explained the process.
“Dad would kind of talk through what he was doing, and that’s when I started to realize, ‘oh he’s putting together these clips to tell a story,’” David continues. “That’s really what he loved about it: telling a story as best he could.”
Bob turned this kind of intellectual generosity into a trademark of his professional style.
“One of the kids on that traveling baseball team later got into the business,” explains David. “And he always kind of attributed it to the (baseball tournament) highlight my dad did.”
By the time he officially retired two years ago, David says that his father occasionally joked about being a “dinosaur” in the industry, but his impact on the community remains alive and well.
Among those who will never forget him are Reel Chicago’s own Colin Costello, who hired Bob to cut commercials for DDB and Burrell.
“I remember working with Bob on McDonald’s projects,” Costello recalls. “He always brought something really special to the work. Advertising will miss him as a creative and a friend.”
When word of his passing was announced on Facebook, hundreds of people responded with memories and condolences.
“He took on a mentoring type of role,” David explains. “But he never put his interests on us, with the exception of sports. The big takeaway messages were all about finding something that you’re passionate about.”