Prior to his retirement in July 1998, Roy had spent no less than 54 years in the advertising industry. Having started agency work in 1944 as an artist at Central Advertising, Roy went on and up through the ranks of various agencies such as J Walter Thompson, P.N. Barrett Co., Afamal and Grant Advertising.
He was integral in establishing the highly successful Mortimer Tiley agency, with partner Alan Tiley, in April 1968 before selling the business to BBDO in 1983.
To his many colleagues and friends, Roy was well known as a consummate perfectionist, a man who demanded the highest standards from himself and from those around him, and certainly a man who did not tolerate mediocrity in anything that he did.
Alan Tiley, co-founder of Mortimer Tiley, fondly remembers their friendship and partnership: “I will always remember Roy as being immaculate, honest and a most responsible and reliable ad man. With Roy, our clients knew they were in safe hands and as a result we maintained our client relationships throughout our time together at Mortimer Tiley and beyond.”
Tiley adds: "Certainly the very best person I ever worked with and a privilege to have had as a business partner. There are not too many people like that in this game."
Roy was a highly respected contributor to the industry during his 54 years in advertising and served on many Advertising Industry bodies, including: The Association of Advertising Agencies (Executive Council – Former President), Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (Former Vice Chairman and Properties Committee) and Advertising Standards Committee (Newspaper Press Union).
Despite a great commitment to his profession and a deep sense of responsibility to his clients, Roy was equally well known for his dedication to having fun and keeping people entertained. “Roy always knew how to lighten any moment and we would often beat the pressure of a deadline by playing rugby in the corridors with a waste paper basket!”
In 1991 Roy co-founded Mortimer Harvey with his son, Dave Mortimer, and Gerald Harvey and was proud to watch the agency grow from strength to strength over the last 17 years.
So, true to his spirit, once Roy had hung up his suit and moved on from the crazy deadlines, he spent his well-earned retirement in active pursuit of those things he enjoyed most. A great lover of the outdoors and an adept hand at wildlife photography, he found much enjoyment in spending time in the bush. Roy also used his time to indulge in autobiographies of highly successful and powerful men. In between all of this he most enjoyed his time as a family man surrounded by his children and inspiring the young minds of his eight grandchildren.
“It was an absolute privilege working with Roy over many years," said Gerald Harvey, "and I have only fond memories of our time together. Roy set the highest standards of integrity and commitment to our business; he was a great inspiration to all who worked with him at Mortimer Harvey. We learnt so much from Roy and, until a month ago, he would still visit the agency which he had been instrumental in founding during the early 90's”.