It is with profound sadness that we mark the untimely passing of Hilary Araujo on April 14, 2011 at the age of 65 after a short illness. Mr. Araujo had been Vice President of Marketing for The Tiffen Company of Hauppauge, New York since June of 2004 and was responsible for the company’s overall advertising, marketing, and public relations programs during that time.
Thanks to his keen intellect, his diligent attention to detail and exemplary work ethic, his disarming honesty and integrity, and his uncanny ability to relate to people with empathy and compassion, he established an unsurpassed record of accomplishment at Tiffen, and over nearly 40 years of outstanding service and dedication to the imaging industry. His personal charm, warm and friendly demeanor, great sense of humor, and unstinting willingness to help others are but some of the sterling qualities that made him a man who was loved and admired by all who knew him.
Hilary Araujo’s first love was photography. In his high school days he was a staff photographer for the school newspaper and ran a small business providing rush overnight processing and enlargements for a local photo store. He entered Queens College shortly thereafter, but family events and the Vietnam War intervened, and he served with distinction in the Air Force for four years (1965-1969), was present during the Tet Offensive, and departed the military with the rank of Staff Sergeant. He then resumed his passion for photography by studying at the Germain School of Photography and found work as a studio assistant at Conrad Studios in Manhattan after graduating. After three years (1971-1974) he had risen to the position of staff photographer, but felt it was time to move on, so he signed on with Berkey Marketing Co., a premier manufacturing and marketing company representing Arriflex, Linhof, Ascor, and Omega. He managed Berkey’s in-house studio for three years, and eventually was offered and accepted a position as product manager.
Araujo remained with Berkey for another seven years and was at one time the Rollei product manager. In 1984 he accepted the position of VP of Marketing with GMI Photographic, in charge of promoting its professional line of products including Bronica, Horseman, Sea & Sea underwater cameras, and Cullmann tripods. He held that position for ten years before CEO Richard Darrow, an old buddy from Berkey days, offered him a top marketing position at ToCAD, then in Parsippany, New Jersey. Hilary Araujo remained with ToCAD from 1995-2004, and was a key to its successful expansion and diversification. In 2004 he gratefully accepted an executive marketing position offered by Steve Tiffen, President and CEO of The Tiffen Company.
During this past six years as VP of Marketing at Tiffen, Araujo enhanced his knowledge base considerably in order to market and promote an entirely new range of high-tech products effectively. He did so with his customary intensity and passion, using his astonishing capacity for learning new things quickly to master both the Tiffen Dfx electronic imaging software system and the unique Steadicam stabilization device used by professional cinematographers. In recognition of his service to the motion picture industry he was just named an Associate Member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), an unprecedented honor for anyone who was not actually a working cinematographer.
Hilary Araujo was a lifetime photo enthusiast with a keen visual sense and an intuitive grasp of lighting that made him an excellent photographer. But ultimately, the two abiding passions of his life were his job and his family. He was deeply devoted to Sandy, his vivacious wife of nearly 40 years, and his engaging and insightful daughter Susan, who lauds him as “my loving and dedicated father and my best friend who taught me how to survive in the world.” As a business executive, he was laser focused on controlling expenses and extracting maximum value from resources, but it was his human side that set him apart. He was deeply committed not merely to his own or his company’s immediate goals, but also to making sure that whomever he was dealing with was also happy and prospering.
“Hilary’s sense of fairness was remarkable and beyond reproach,” observes Steve Tiffen. “He taught me the importance of balance—of making sure the other person is getting what they need while you are also getting what you require. The one word that keeps coming up when people talk about Hilary is ‘caring’ and this is eloquently expressed in both his personal and professional life. One of his major achievements at Tiffen was establishing a cohesive brand strategy that will take us confidently into the future. He was a dear friend and a great colleague who made so many contributions to our company. This is truly a great loss.”
The life of Hilary Araujo represents an unsurpassed record of accomplishment as an esteemed marketing executive, as a loving husband and father, as an American, and as a human being. His was truly a life of service and he has given unstintingly and generously to help others both in and outside the imaging industry he loved. He was a consummate gentleman whose brilliance, compassion, commitment to excellence and hard work brought immense benefits to the companies he worked with and to the industry he loved. In all aspects of his life he set a lofty standard worthy of emulation and of the highest regard. This was a very special man who will be sorely missed by all those who had the privilege to know him and to work with him. Fortunately his legacy will live on in his good works and in his countless acts of loving-kindness. May he rest in peace.