Longtime Chief Communications Officer at The Martin Agency Dies at Age 59

The ‘inimitable’ Dean Jarrett retired last year

Jarrett Dean
Dean Jarrett retired from The Martin Agency last year. Martin Agency
Headshot of Minda Smiley

Dean Jarrett, who served as The Martin Agency’s chief communications officer for 30 years before retiring last year, died on Dec. 13 at the age of 59 after battling cancer.

According to his obituary, Jarrett helped the Richmond-based agency “rise from regional to national prominence, serving as a trusted member of senior leadership and representing the company in Richmond and around the world.”

Jarrett confirmed his retirement from The Martin Agency to the Richmond Times-Dispatch last year. In 2017, he spoke with Adweek about how the agency tweaked its iconic “Virginia Is for Lovers” tourism slogan in light of white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, Va. that turned violent.

 “The inimitable Dean Jarrett was The Martin Agency’s chief communications officer for 30 years. More than that, he was the best kind of friend—and we’re truly heartbroken,” president Chris Mumford said via email.

“If he was here right now, he would look at me as he did so often with that bigger than life smile and ask: ‘Is this not the BEST day EVER?!’ To Dean, they all were,” Mumford continued.

A celebration of life will be held for Jarrett at 1 p.m. on Dec. 19 at Hope Church in Richmond, Va.. In lieu of flowers, his obituary asks loved ones to consider a donation to VCU Massey Cancer Center’s neuro-oncology team.

@Minda_Smiley minda.smiley@adweek.com Minda Smiley is an agencies reporter at Adweek.