Joe Sutter, the “father of the 747”, passed away at age 95 earlier this week. Joe was the congenial leader of the Boeing engineering team, got his folks to actually do what was thought to be impossible at the time, all the while being a an unforgettable “character” in the industry.
I’ve had the pleasure to meet Joe and hear him speak on several occasions, and can honestly say that time seemed to go by all too quickly on those occasions. He was one of the “builders” of our industry.
If you don’t know the story of the 747 development and the role Joe played, I’d recommend watching episode 3 of The Age of Aerospace series that premiered on the Discovery channel in conjunction with Boeing’s 100th anniversary. That episode can be found here.
Joe remained active well into his 90s, and maintained an office at Boeing for many years after retirement. He will be missed.