Herb Kelleher (March 12, 1931 – January 3, 2019) was an American billionaire airline executive and lawyer….who was the co-founder….later the CEO….and chairman emeritus of Southwest Airlines until his death in 2019.
After clerking for a New Jersey Supreme Court justice….Kelleher moved to Texas….while intending to start a law firm or a business….when Kelleher and one of his law clients….Texas businessman Rollin King….created the concept with banker John Parker that later became Southwest Airlines. An often retold founding myth claimed the business plan was written out on a cocktail napkin in a San Antonio restaurant….though Kelleher and King have both stated that there was no literal cocktail napkin.
They originally devised a very simple plan of connecting the Texas Triangle with low-cost air service…. which was patterned for the most part on California’s Pacific Southwest Airlines. After incorporating the company initially as “Air Southwest Co.” in 1967….Kelleher and King faced four years of setbacks and legal challenges from competitors that culminated in winning key cases before the Supreme Court of the United States in December 1970 and the Supreme Court of Texas in June 1971….and the first flights finally took off on June 18, 1971.
Because Southwest Airlines advertised on television so frequently during the days when the ImaSportsphile video library became a reality from 1977 to 1991….that we got to know Herb Kelleher really well….which is how Herb Kelleher became a true American hero to those of us who put our love into this webpage posting more video every day….cuz guys like Herb Kelleher inspire us to keep on keepin’ on…..and with 4,400 currently posted…..we just have 8,000 to go. ONWARD THRU THE FOG ….THANKS HERB!!