Image: Paul Lazzaro, renowned and beloved public relations and marketing specialist, succumbed after a long fight with cancer on Thursday, November 14, 2019.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
The Woodlands, November 15 – Paul Lazzaro, renowned and beloved public relations and marketing specialist and the Founder of The Woodlands Residents’ Advocates, a sister media property to this newspaper, succumbed after a long fight with cancer on Thursday, November 14, 2019. The 85-year-old community leader had been under hospice care for approximately nine months.
Lazzaro was born in Chicago on January 13, 1934, and grew up in the “Jane Addams Project” there as a child. “I had a wonderful childhood, great memories and great friends,” Lazzaro once said of his experience growing up in the projects of the big city.
Lazzaro served in the United States Navy during the Korean War as a Journalist Second Class, because, as he described, “I knew how to type, so they put me in special services.” He later served on the USS Bennington aircraft carrier. While the ship was undergoing repairs in New York Harbor, Lazzaro attended a social event in 1955 for the Navy at which famed actress Marilyn Monroe attended to promote her movie “The Seven Year Itch.” An official Navy photograph shows Lazzaro kissing Monroe.
Lazzaro moved to Fort Worth, Texas, in 1985 where he opened his own public relations and marketing firm. While at a luncheon at the Petroleum Club in downtown Fort Worth, Lazzaro met representatives of his future employer, The Woodlands Operating Company.
Lazzaro moved to The Woodlands in 1998 as vice president of marketing and public affairs for The Woodlands Operating Company, a position from which he retired on December 5, 2003, when Crescent Real Estate and Morgan Stanley Group purchased the company from its founder, George Mitchell.
While working in The Woodlands for the developer, Lazzaro named “Carlton Woods” and also created The Woodlands’ mascot, “Puffy the Pine Cone.” Lazzaro had created a girlfriend for Puffy who never came to fruition, “Penny the Pine Cone.”
After Lazzaro left the United States Navy, he worked at Marriott Hotels in public relations for almost two decades. He also work for CBS.
“I love laughing and I love telling jokes,” Lazzaro once said. “I met Bob Hope. I would have loved to meet Robin Williams.”
Lazzaro worked as a consultant to the developers of The Woodlands after his retirement.
Lazzaro also provided political consultant services to a number of local political candidates including Bob Milner, who recently won election to the Woodlands Township, and Jim Napolitano, who ran for Montgomery County Sheriff in 2016.
Lazzaro founded “The Woodlands Residents’ Advocates” to support the work of Woodlands Township Chairman Gordy Bunch and to support efforts to incorporate The Woodlands as a city. Lazzaro sold that media property to Malleus Aureus Company, the parent company of The Golden Hammer, in early 2019, although Lazzaro continued to contribute to it and work with former Publisher Eric Yollick.
Yollick said, “I adored Paul Lazzaro. I’ll sorely miss him. Paul and I loved to joke around together, sometimes for hours. He had a piercing sense of humor and timing. I really believe he would have made a great stand-up comedian. The Woodlands has lost a great community leader.”
The Sage of The Woodlands, Bill O’Sullivan, said, “Paul Lazzaro was a Renaissance man. He had a knowledge of a lot of things, even how to kiss Marilyn Monroe. He was ready with an observation of anything, because he read so extensively. I’ll miss him very much. He’s my friend and he lived around the block from me.”
Lazzaro’s two daughters, Catherine and Caryl, survive him, as well as several grandchildren. Lazzaro’s son Christopher predeceased him.