Longtime Las Vegas advertising executive Joe Merica, who got his start after graduating from University of Nevada, Reno as editor of The Ely Times from the mid-70’s to early 80’s, recently passed away.
He was never one to stay still for too long, said George Carnes, the publisher of the paper at the time. Carnes recalled working with Merica when he first got his start.
“It was a long time ago, I don’t recall the date, but I do remember the first story he ever wrote was covering the incident with the gazebo in the county park after it was blown up with dynamite,” Carnes said.
Merica passed away in his sleep on June 28 in Las Vegas. He was 63 years old. When Carnes heard the news, he said he was “shocked” because he remembered Merica as always being in great health.
“He was a really nice guy, always very confident and fun to work with,” Carnes said.
Merica left the newspaper to work with then gubernatorial candidate Richard Bryan on his campaign. After Bryan was elected, Merica again moved on to co-create his own advertising firm in Las Vegas, called Merica, Burch and Dickerson.
John L. Smith, a columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, called Merica a true “Mad Man,” a reference to the television show about men in advertising in the late 1950’s.
“He was a genuine Las Vegas “Mad Man.” You know, a hip advertising executive with a grand gift of gab, unlimited expense account, a salesman’s heart, a wellspring of creativity, a flair for writing and a seemingly endless number of big ideas for clients great and small,” Smith wrote in a column for the Review-Journal titled “Joe Merica was a Vegas Mad Man.”
Merica finished his career as a high school teacher in Las Vegas.