Tom Townsend, Founder

Creative icon, community leader and philanthropist Tom Townsend passed away in St. Louis on October 4, 2019, following a brief battle with angio sarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Tom was a beloved husband, father, uncle, cousin, friend, teacher, mentor, partner, and connector of people from all walks of life. He was a passionate writer, musician, artist, photographer, philosopher, and advertising professional. He was a true inspiration to people all over the world, and had a profound impact on anyone with whom he came into contact.

Tom was Co-founder of Rodgers Townsend/DDB, a prominent St. Louis advertising agency, where he created award-winning advertising for AT&T, The Hartford, Enterprise, Energizer, PBS, Microsoft and other national brands. Rodgers Townsend was awarded the Spirit of St. Louis Award for donating well over a million dollars’ worth of pro bono hours to St. Louis organizations including Forest Park Forever, The Foster Care Coalition, The Black World History Museum, The St. Louis Black Repertory Company, The Regional Arts Council, The Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis, Circus Flora, and others.

In 2010, Tom and Jeanne Townsend lost their oldest child, Alex, in a car accident while he was a graphic design and advertising student at Savannah College of Art and Design. They started the Alex Townsend Memorial Foundation to honor his memory, and in 2012 they founded Pianos for People. In July 2014 Tom retired from the advertising agency in order to focus his efforts on managing the rapid growth and long-term success of Pianos for People and the Alex Townsend Memorial Foundation, as well as his many other philanthropic causes.