Originally Published: June 17, 2016 6 a.m.
Retired graphic designer Harold (Hal) Chairman Tritel died on June 8, 2016, just two months short of 93, at his home in Prescott, Arizona, tended by his loving wife of 30 years, Lynette Marie (Shefflette) Tritel, curator of the Phippen Museum.
Born on Aug. 13, 1923, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Hal was the firstborn son of the late Abraham Tritel and Minerva Chairman, and brother of Eugene Chairman Tritel (1926-2009). Hal graduated as valedictorian of his high school, the New York School of Industrial Arts (now the New York School of Art & Design). Fellow alumnus, designer Rudy De Harak, credited Hal as the person who introduced him to the world of graphic communication and Modernist design.
An Army veteran of World War II, Hal arrived in Los Angeles on his honeymoon in 1945 with first wife, Edie Tritel (1925-2001). After achieving the rank of journeyman cabinetmaker, he switched to graphic design, becoming a founding member of the Los Angeles Society for Contemporary Designers, a group of seven pioneering artists that included Saul Bass, Rudy de Harak, John Follis and Louis Danzinger. As a freelancer on the fringes of the film industry, Hal created graphic art for Hill-Hecht-Lancaster Productions and Seven Artists Production Company (most notably, the movie poster for the 1955 Academy Award winning film, “Marty”). He was also an early member of the Crestwood Hills Housing Association, one of the few fully realized, postwar cooperative housing projects in the U.S. Hal became the award-winning advertising manager for a chain of grocery stores headquartered in Orange County, California, in 1963.
Hal and Edie had three children: sculptor Jeff Tritel of Grass Valley, California, novelist Barbara Quick of Cotati, California and human development specialist Judy Zeidel, Ph.D., of Phoenix, Arizona. The marriage ended in 1968. Hal went back to school and earned an undergraduate degree in psychology and a Master’s Degree in gerontology.
In 1986, Hal married Lynette Marie Shefflette, with whom he moved to Prescott, Arizona, after living and cruising the Southern California coast for several years together on a sailboat called Koyana. A skilled woodworker as well as a ham radio enthusiast, he became a member of “Wood Be Carvers” as well as the Yavapai Radio Club of Prescott.
Hal will be remembered by all who knew him for his keen intelligence and creativity, excellence as a darkroom photographer, deft storytelling skills and lifelong love of hiking, camping and sailing.
He is survived by four grandchildren of whom he was exceedingly proud, David Tritel of Krakow, Poland, Bernie Avery of Oahu, Hawaii, Jenny Citron of Tucson, Arizona and Julian Quick of Boulder, Colorado.
Charitable contributions can be made in Hal’s memory to the Phippen Museum (www.phippenartmuseum.org) and Prescott Meals on Wheels (www.prescottmealsonwheels.com/donate).
Information provided by survivors.