Kenneth E. Runyon, retired professor of marketing

Professor Runyon

Kenneth E. Runyon, retired professor of marketing in the College of Business Administration, died Dec. 18, 2008. He was 87.

Dr. Runyon was born in Nowata, Okla., and was a proud citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

After a career of almost 20 years with Gardner Advertising Company, with notable clients such as Anheuser Busch, Jack Daniel’s, Proctor and Gamble and Ralston Purina, Dr. Runyon received his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Washington University in St. Louis and joined the NAU faculty in 1971.

During his tenure at NAU, Dr. Runyon wrote leading textbooks on advertising, marketing and consumer behavior. He also served on numerous faculty committees. When he retired in 1986, the College of Business Administration dedicated the Kenneth E. Runyon Marketing Room in his honor.

The plaque commemorating this honor quoted him as saying, “Regardless of the name of the course assigned me, I really teach only three things: integrity, responsibility and hard work.”

Upon his retirement from NAU, Dr. Runyon moved to Sun City West and wrote humorous poems about cats and published a book, Why I Talk to Cats. He also played golf, wrote grant proposals and newsletters for the West Side Food Bank, served on the Sheriff’s posse and presided over a woodworking shop. He and his wife Janie traveled widely, visiting Alaska, Egypt, Europe, Tahiti and the Panama Canal.

Most recently, Dr. Runyon lived near his daughters in California and in Washington.

“He was a dedicated, insightful and talented faculty member whose teachings blended the theoretical world of behavioral sciences with his practical experience in the advertising business,” said daughter Cindy Shanker.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Janie, in 2006, and by son Michael in 2001. He is survived by daughters Cindy Shanker (Philip) of Los Gatos, California and Katherine Runyon (Carl Nelson) of Lake Stevens, Washington; his sister, Wakie of St. Louis; six grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

A memorial service to celebrate his life was held Jan.17 in Sun City West.