Harry Kappas Stinger Jr., 84, formerly of Chestnut Hill, a public relations and marketing consultant who for many years served as the press relations manager of the Dad Vail Regatta, died July 5 of congestive heart failure at St. Joseph’s Villa in Flourtown. He had been living in Blue Bell since 2003.
Known to many as “the voice of the Dad Vail,” Mr. Stinger played a major role in transforming the regatta from a series of weekend college races on the Schuylkill into the largest intercollegiate rowing event in North America.
For 26 years, from 1987 to 2012, he planned and directed the regatta’s annual publicity and marketing campaign for print and broadcast media, served as the event’s press spokesman and managed the media tent during the three days of racing.
Jim Hanna, president of the Dad Vail Regatta Organizing Committee, said Mr. Stinger “was instrumental in helping the Dad Vail obtain the stature it enjoys today.”
“Over his 26-year tenure he assisted with the growth of the regatta and provided invaluable guidance in his PR endeavors, for which we are deeply indebted,” Hanna said.
Jack Galloway, chairman of the regatta, said Mr. Stinger “brought a refreshing opportunity to the Dad Vail to widen its appeal to the sports pages and to the community at large.
“He was a terrific help in bringing to the fore the advantages of the race as a national event,” Galloway said.
As a consultant, Mr. Stinger had been involved in directing capital fund-raising campaigns for many nonprofit organizations in the greater Philadelphia area, including Northeastern Hospital, CORA Services and the archdioceses of Camden and Newark.
He also had been the founding editor in the 1970s of The Montgomery Post, a weekly newspaper serving the Norristown area.
Mr. Stinger’s first job was teaching Latin, English and social studies at Monsignor Bonner High School in Upper Darby. Even in later life he continued to teach those courses to junior and senior high school students as a substitute teacher – an activity he found to be personally rewarding. Over the years, he had taught at Bishop Eustace Preparatory School in Pennsauken, N.J., and in the Colonial, Springfield Township and Upper Dublin school districts.
Born in Yeadon, he was a graduate of St. Louis Parish School and St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, where he served on the board of governors. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from St. Joseph’s University and also studied at Georgetown and Villanova universities.
He served in the Army at the 28th Army Field Hospital in Fort Bragg, N.C.
Mr. Stinger is survived by his wife of 57 years, the former Mary Louise Hanrahan; sons Harry III, Vincent and David; daughters Nora Neumann, Ann Todd Post, Susan Hamilton and Jane Edgington, and 22 grandchildren. A son, Andrew, and a granddaughter, Annmarie Stinger, preceded him in death.
A Mass of Resurrection was celebrated July 10 at Our Mother of Consolation Church in Chestnut Hill, with interment in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made in Mr. Stinger’s name to St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, 1733 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19130, or to the Carmelite Monastery, 66th Avenue and Old York Road, Philadelphia, PA 19126. — WF