DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The nation’s business elite and customers alike remember Southwest Airlines founder Herb Kelleher.
Kelleher died at age 87 Thursday. A street near Love Field is named after him.
Sandra Force, a veteran SWA Flight Attendant remember Kelleher signing the pay checks.
“I remember so many pay checks he’d say ‘From Herb Kelleher and your valued customer’,” said Force.
She said she also remembers when those first employees wondered if they’d get the next one. She started with the company three months after it launched, and 48 years later she is still working there and had the privilege of calling Kelleher a friend and frequent traveling companion.
Force said he never wanted to sit down and almost always preferred to help pass out snacks.
“He was the spirit, the heart, the core,” said Force. “He was our everything at SWA. He was wonderful. He never forgot your name. You tell him your name one time and the next time he saw you, he knew your name and a little bit about you.”
Force said she has so many great memories of her decades spent working for Kelleher– some that made her laugh and some that made her cry at the same time.

“A true servant leader– he really walked the talk,” said Ed Stewart, a former SWA senior communications director.

Stewart calls himself Kelleher’s former public relations wingman, fondly recalling his former boss’ business genius, how he treated others and his great sense of humor.

“Herb would always joke how he loved to go down the road to American Airlines and take all the cigarette lighters from Bob Crandall to keep costs low at SWA,” said Stewart. “Because that was the secret sauce– keep costs low, and spirits high!”