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Malcolm Stamper, 80; Boeing Executive Helped Launch 747

June 17, 2005|From Associated Press

Malcolm Stamper, who became president of Boeing Co. after spearheading the development of the 747 jumbo jet, has died. He was 80. Stamper died in his sleep Tuesday in his Seattle home after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer, his family said Thursday.

Born in Detroit, Stamper served in the Navy and earned an electrical engineering degree at Georgia Tech. He started his career at General Motors Corp. before joining Boeing in 1962 as head of the company's aerospace electronics division.

Three years later, Stamper was named company vice president and general manager of Boeing's turbine division. Stamper then headed up the 747 program, overseeing production of what was then the world's largest passenger plane even as the factory was being built around it in Everett, north of Seattle.

As vice president and general manager of Boeing Commercial Airplane Co., he also directed the production, sale and development of the 707, 727, 737 and 747 aircraft models before he was named corporate president in 1972.

Stamper served as Boeing's president and sat on the board of directors from 1972 to 1985, when he became vice chairman. He retired in 1990.

Airplanes were one of his many interests. He climbed mountains, skied, ran marathons, painted, grew orchids and read voraciously.

"That was sort of untypical," said Harold Carr, 77, Boeing's vice president of public relations from 1986 to 1997. "Boeing was sort of a bastion of people who had a love of airplanes and that was pretty much their life: the products we made, sold and serviced. And here comes Stamper with a much wider variety of interests than just what the company was known for. I think that's what set him apart."

Stamper was an active civic leader, serving as a trustee and chairman of the Seattle Art Museum, a member of the Smithsonian Institution's national board of directors, and a chairman of the United Way's Seattle-area campaign.

Soon after his retirement, he founded Storytellers Ink, a family-run business that went on to publish 40 children's books. He was publisher, his wife of 59 years Mari Guinan Stamper, who writes under the pen name Quinn Currie, was the editor, and his daughter, Mary Lynam, was president.

He went on to form a not-for-profit program called Operation Outreach aimed at eliminating illiteracy. He raised money from businesses, foundations and individual donors and poured some of his own money into the effort, which gave books to schoolchildren.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Stamper is survived by five other children, 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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