I just found out this morning that Jeff McClelland, a former executive at America West and now US Airways, passed away yesterday. His battle with cancer was a tough one. Every time it seemed like he had beaten it, it would come back once again. He was only 47.
In Memory: Jeffrey D. McClelland
Sept. 11, 2006
It is with heavy hearts that we announce Executive Vice President and Chief Administration Officer Jeff McClelland passed away Sunday, September 10, 2006. Please keep Jeff’s family, which includes wife Lori and their four sons, in your thoughts and prayers.
Jeff, who was 47, was diagnosed with cancer about four years ago. Since that time, he underwent several operations and rounds of chemotherapy. His experiences in fighting colon cancer were chronicled in the Arizona Republic in July 2005 and October 2005; Jeff’s grace and strength inspired others fighting similar battles.
CEO Doug Parker, who worked with Jeff for over 18 years, said, “Words can’t describe the sadness we feel from losing not only an extremely talented executive but a close confidante and a great friend. Jeff’s contributions, which are too numerous to list, went well beyond any job title. He brought insight, depth and vision to our airline and he did so with an unparalleled work ethic and the utmost
integrity. He was the embodiment of leadership by example, setting a standard
that drove those of us who worked with him to be better executives and better
“Jeff dealt with this disease the same way he approached every other challenge; with resolve and a quiet determination. He never complained or asked for help, choosing instead to keep his battle private while continuing to come to work and contribute well beyond what any reasonable person would expect.
“In the near future, we plan to re-dedicate the PHX flight center as the Jeffrey D. McClelland Flight Center. This is one small way to honor Jeff’s life and his love of aviation while giving our team a continuous reminder of the standard he set for us. For employees wishing to honor Jeff, we’ll also establish the McClelland Scholarships within the US Airways Education Foundation. We will miss our friend, but we will not forget him or the lessons he taught us.”
Jeff began his aviation career as a U.S. Navy pilot. After earning his MBA from Stanford, he transitioned into commercial aviation by taking a position with American Airlines. After three years, he moved to Northwest Airlines, where he worked for nearly a decade in senior management. At Northwest, Jeff held a variety of operations and finance positions. When he left Northwest, he was senior vice president/controller for the airline.
In 1999, Jeff arrived at America West. He came into the airline as senior vice president, operations and was responsible for technical operations. Jeff led the remarkable operational turnaround of America West in 2000 and, in 2001, he was named executive vice president and chief operating officer. He led the airline’s operational recovery after Sept. 11, 2001.
Jeff played an integral role in developing the America West/US Airways merger and, following the September 2005 merger announcement; Jeff assumed a new position as executive vice president/chief administration officer. In this role, he oversaw finance, legal affairs, human resources, labor relations properties and facilities. He also oversaw the new airline’s wholly owned subsidiary operations.
Doug said, “Part of Jeff’s legacy is the great people that he led and mentored. While we cannot replace Jeff, we anticipate his responsibilities will be capably handled
by dividing them among members of our current executive team.”
The Jeffrey D. McClelland Flight Center
As Doug announced, there will be a company-wide dedication of the flight center that will be named after Jeff.
A McClelland Scholarship fund will also be established within the framework of the US Airways Education Foundation. Details will be forthcoming and communicated as soon as they’re determined. Jeff appreciated the numerous cards and letters he received over the past four years as he battled this disease. Many employees recently signed a giant “You Make US Fly” poster, and Jeff was visibly moved when the poster was presented to him.
Private services for the family will be held in Wisconsin. A tribute to honor Jeff’s life and legacy will be planned for Jeff’s Phoenix “family” at a later date and details will be communicated once those are known. In the meantime, please keep Jeff’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.