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In Memoriam: Lou Papais

Papais and his brother transformed Ad Art in 1958 and Las Vegas signs thereafter.




Ad Art (headquartered in San Francisco) Executive Design Director Jack Dubois has announced Lou Papais, company founder and long-time owner and president, passed away on Oct. 23 after a lengthy illness.

Lou and his late brother, John, formed Ad Art in 1958, quickly growing it out of its original downtown Stockton, CA space and into a 65,000-sq.-ft. mega-plant that produced many landmark Las Vegas signs that pushed design boundaries and forever engraved its legacy.

The portrait above shows Lou, John and later partner Dan O’Leary (all are deceased). Lou is in the middle with John on the left and Dan on the right. Dan became an increasingly important sales fixture, shepherding contracts with the Thunderbird, Stardust, Frontier, Caesar’s Palace and MGM, among many other Nevada casino/resorts.

Lou was a prodigious industry giant and those of us fortunate to have worked with him in capturing his lightning in a bottle truly feel a deep, irreplaceable loss, said Jack Dubois.

For more information on the company Lou Papais and his brother founded, visit




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