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Two Top Corporate Leaders Died in the First Week of 2019

Getty Images / Toronto Star / Vince Tollotta

These deaths in the business world mark the start of a very different year

Blake Nordstrom died Wednesday, January 2. His family name is almost certainly familiar, because he was the co-president of retail giant Nordstrom. One day later, January 3, Herb Kelleher died. He was the founder of Southwest Airlines, known for his unconventional approach to the business world. 

My recent analysis of celebrity deaths in 2018 showed that it was a pretty quiet year, overall. 2019 has already started looking different. On day two, we were surprised by several celebrity deaths, one after the other. And by the next day, we had already marked two deaths of major corporate leaders. 

In contrast, just a handful of people on that level of business success died in 2018. Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, and Charles Lazarus, founder of Toys "R" Us, were probably the best known. Tower Records founder Russ Solomon, Discount Tire founder Bruce Halle, and Blockbuster Video founder Wayne Huizenga also died in 2018.  

Is the sad first week of January a glimpse of what 2019 holds in store? As always, that's not something we can predict. In any case, we'll be here along the way to help you pay tribute to those whose passing is meaningful to you.