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Southwest Airlines Co-Founder Herb Kelleher Remembered As Visionary At Celebration Of Life

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher was remembered as a visionary who thought everyone should have access to low-cost flights during a celebration of life Tuesday.

Herb Kelleher celebration of life event
Herb Kelleher celebration of life event

Kelleher, who died January 3 at age 87, was honored at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas.

Numerous employees of Dallas-based Southwest, some wearing their ID badges and uniforms, were on hand.

There was a touching, tribute performance by award-winning singer, Gary Morris.

The service also included a toast by Kelleher's family with his well-known drink of choice... a shot of Wild Turkey.

Those who knew Kelleher over the years, shared their love for his life.

Southwest Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly described Kelleher as a boss, counselor, teacher, cheerleader and a friend. Kelly said Kelleher believed in the "crazy idea" of making air travel affordable for all, not just the rich, and made it happen.

"Herb has been my boss, my mentor, my counselor, my teacher, my cheerleader, and my friend, but in actually -- he was more like a father. He was a hero," said Kelly.

"It's going to be really hard without him, but we will go on because his legacy will live on within us in our hearts," said Southwest Airlines employee Jeannie Schaffer.

Kelleher famously came up with the idea for Southwest Airlines and its brash approach that rocked the airline industry, along with two partners, on a cocktail napkin.

Southwest began flying in 1971.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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