Saint Mary's Benefactor Howard J. Korth Dies

Howard J. Korth, a generous benefactor of Saint Mary's College who contributed to several large campus projects, including the Korth Academic Center in the renovated Arcade and the Korth Tower, passed away in his home in Piedmont, California on February 15 at the age of 90.

Korth was a President's Club member and a regent from 1981 to 1996; he became a regent emeritus in 1996. He contributed to the Timothy Korth Tennis Complex at Saint Mary's, named for his son, who preceded him in death. He and his wife, Geraldine, also established the Korth Family Endowed Basketball Scholarship, which benefits men's basketball players, and the Korth Family Endowed Tennis Scholarship.

He was born in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1920 and graduated from the University of Notre Dame, where he studied engineering and business management and played football for the Fighting Irish. He served in the Navy and was honored with the Navy and Marine Corps Medal of Heroism. After World War II, he became an aviation pioneer. He founded AAXICO airlines in the late 1940s and later acquired or merged with Saturn Airways, Trans International Airlines and ultimately Transamerica Airlines, the largest charter airline in the world. He retired in 1985.

Korth supported numerous Catholic educational and charitable programs, including Saint Mary's, Notre Dame and the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, while also helping needy seniors and children.

Korth is survived by his daughter Barbara Hegarty (George) of Pleasant Hill, Calif.; his son Eric Korth (Susy) of Granbury, Texas; his son John Korth (Cheryl) of Troy, Mich., and 23 grandchildren and spouses and 28 great-grandchildren for a total of 51. He was preceded in death by his son, Timothy, and his parents, William and Edith Korth; his brothers Raymond, William, Alvin and James; and his wife, Geraldine.

A memorial Mass was held on February 21 at the Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church in Piedmont, Calif. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts be made in Memory of Howard Korth to Sutter VNA Hospice, 1900 Powell St., Ste 300, Emeryville, CA 94608, or to a charity of your choice.

Sign his online memorial guest book.