John H. Appleyard was an advertising executive, author and civic leader who founded the Appleyard Agency in 1959 and whose prolific writings focus on Pensacola's history.
Born on November 14, 1922 in Chicago, Illinois, Appleyard attended the Northwestern University School of Journalism before joining the Army during World War II, working across Europe as hospital registrar from 1943-1946. Following hostilities, he attended Oxford University-Shrivenham and the University of Delaware, where he earned a Bachelor's degree with honors in 1947. He joined Armstrong Cork Company in Beaver Falls that year and was transferred by the company to Pensacola in 1950. He settled in the North Hill neighborhood with his wife Eleanor and daughter Diane. Appleyard went to work with local advertising firm Justin Weddell & Associates in 1957. He founded his own firm, the John Appleyard Agency, on February 2, 1959. Appleyard also was heavily involved with Pensacola's growing health care industry and was chief executive officer the Healthcare Research & Development Institute (HRDI) in 1967. Dick Appleyard took over as president of the agency in 1987, and John stepped down from active work in 1992. He maintained an office in the agency's Cordova Square building for his writing and community work.
An avid historian, Appleyard penned dozens of books about Pensacola's past. Many of his works were fictional dramatizations of historical individuals and events. He was named director of the Florida Quadricentennial Celebration in 1958 and was involved with a number of preservation efforts.
Pensacola - John Henry Appleyard, age 97, died peacefully on Tuesday, October 20, 2020, three months after the death of his wife.