Former Town of Ossining Supervisor John Chervokas, politican and ad man best known for the famous "Please don't squeeze the Charmin" commercials, has died.
He was 74.
The wake will be held at in Ossining on July 28 from 5-8 p.m. His funeral will be on July 29 at in Briarcliff Manor at 11 a.m.
John Chervokas began his public service career in the 70s as the president of the . He was the director of the Ossining Chamber of Commerce in the mid-90s. In 1998 Chervokas began his first term as the Town of Ossining's supervisor. He proudly served the people of the in that position until 2008.
Before his career in politics, John was a Madison Avenue advertising executive. He started as a copywriter and worked his way up to vice chairman and chief creative officer of Warwick Advertising.
As a copywriter John came up with the idea for the "Please don't squeeze the Charmin" ad campaign. He said the idea came from observing women who squeezed fruit in the supermarket, and the managers who had to stop them from doing so.
John Vincent Chervokas was born in Norwood, Massachusetts in 1936. He graduated from Fordham University in 1959. He wrote four books that focused on religious commentary and prayers.
John's son Jason had the following to say about the passing of his father: "My dad was well known in different spheres—in the advertising business he was known as a talented, inventive creative director who, as a junior copywriter invented the "Please don't squeeze the Charmin" campaign.
In politics he was known as a leader of gentle but firm conviction—serving not only for a decade as Ossining town supervisor, but also in the early 1970s as leader of the town's school board during a tumultuous redistricting that ended de facto segregation. He was the author of books, the editor of magazines, the composer of songs. But to his family he was known as a man of unfathomably deep stores of patience, almost supernatural kindness, and an inexhaustible capacity for groan-inducing puns. We'll miss him a lot. The things I think people will remember about my dad—certainly the things we'll remember—are the power of creativity he possessed and believed in, and the compassion and kindness he brought to everything he did, even business and politics."
Catherine Borgia, the current Town of Ossining supervisor, is also reflecting on Chervokas' legacy. "The Town of Ossining is very saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague, former Town Supervisor John Chervokas. John's dedication to public service was an inspiration to us. His wit, wisdom, and unflagging good humor will be sorely missed by all who had the good fortune to know him. Our deepest condolences go to his family and many friends," said Borgia.
John Chervokas died Saturday at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan after a five-year battle with Parkinson's disease. He is survived by his wife Roseanna, his sons, daughter and three grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, you may send donations to the National Parkinson Foundation.
Ed note: In an earlier version, the story incorrectly stated Chervokas was elected in 1998. He was elected in 1997 and began serving in 1998.