Southwest Airlines' Legender Founder Herbert Kelleher is Dead at 87


 
 
12:44 01/07/2019

Airline Southwest Airlines announced recently that its founder, Herbert Kelleher, has passed away at the age of 87. The founder and chairman emeritus of the company is survived by his wife and three of his fourth children. He also left behind several grandchildren. A community post from the company reads, "It is with heavy hearts that we share with you that our Founder, Inspiration, Chairman Emeritus, and Friend Herb Kelleher has passed away this morning at the age of 87. Herb is survived by his wife, Joan, three of their four children, many cherished grandchildren, and, of course, his pride and joy, the Employees of Southwest Airlines." It continues, "Born Herbert David Kelleher on March 12, 1931, and raised in Haddon Heights, New Jersey, Herb received his bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan and his law degree from New York University. He practiced law on the East Coast before relocating to Texas with plans to start his own law firm. In 1967, Herb and client Rollin King incorporated Air Southwest, Inc., with the idea of offering low-fare, intra-Texas airline service. After a name change and many legal battles valiantly fought and won by Herb, Southwest Airlines took to the skies on June 18, 1971—a date that would change each of our lives forever. Anyone in the world who has set foot on an airplane in the past 50 years has been touched by the life of Herb Kelleher. For he, with the first set of Southwest Warriors, made history when they set out to disrupt the airline industry by making flying both fun and affordable." Kelleher founded the airline with Rollin King back in the 1960's although Southwest's first flight didn't take off until 1971. “Herb was a legendary business and leader, a civic titan and, most importantly, an ardent defender of the Federal Reserve System and it’s independence,” said former Dallas Fed president Richard Fisher. “Herb was a pioneer, a maverick, and an innovator,” the company stated. “His vision revolutionized commercial aviation and democratized the skies. Herb’s passion, zest for life, and insatiable investment in relationships made lasting and immeasurable impressions on all who knew him and will forever be the bedrock and esprit de corps of Southwest Airlines.” “His vision for making air travel affordable for all revolutionized the industry, and you can still see that transformation taking place today,” said Southwest’s CEO Gary Kelly. “He inspired people; he motivated people; he challenged people — and, he kept us laughing all the way. He was an exceptionally gifted man with an enormous heart and love for people — all people.” “Smart, innovative, funny — and a bit out of his brilliant mind,” said Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric. “I loved him. He was, to me, an American business hero, in that he elevated his people to heights they never imagined they could reach, changing an industry for the better in the process.” “He was big, brash funny and wickedly smart,” said Henry Harteveldt, a former airline executive. “Herb pushed the airline to expand across the country.”0


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