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Eric and Kathy Hertz

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Eric and Kathy Hertz Obituary
Eric and Kathy Hertz


58, Auckland died unexpectedly, along with his wife Kathy Picone Hertz, after his private Beechcraft Baron airplane crashed off the coast of Kawhia, New Zealand near Kawhia Harbour on March 31, 2013.

Eric was born on December 31, 1954 in Danville, Pennsylvania to Jane Rosenblum Hertz (deceased) and Irwin Harold Hertz. He grew up in nearby Berwick, Pennsylvania with his older sister, Johanna and two younger brothers, Marc and Eli.

He was an accomplished trombone player as a member of his high school band, successfully competed to become a member of the McDonald All American Band and served as president of the Key Club service organization. Eric graduated from Berwick High School in 1972. He chose to delay his entrance to college for one year and instead worked in an auto-body repair shop during the day, using the empty shop in the evenings to convert a 1968 Chevy Camaro into a high performance street car.

Eric matriculated into Worcester Polytechnic Institute in September 1973. In his four years at WPI he joined the crew team, served as President of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity and was a member of the Honor Society and prestigious Skull and Bones Society. He graduated in June of 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.

After college, Eric began his 36 year record of achievement in the telecommunications industry, interrupted briefly to get a Master's degree in Business Administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1984. Eric demonstrated a strong capacity for leadership and business success in various management positions prior to graduating from the Management Development Program for AT&T Long Lines. Eric's superior work ethic, innovative spirit and his inspirational leadership style was acknowledged with increasingly larger management responsibilities, including installation of the first cellular phone system in Portland Maine, operations management for the former McCaw Cellular and Cellular One, Regional Management for AT&T and Bell South, as well as President of Bell South International - Ecuador, where he became fluent in Spanish. He returned to the United States to become Chief Operating Officer of Western Wireless and then President and CEO of Zumobi, a new venture to bring web content to wireless phones.

The telecommunications industry also provided Eric an opportunity to meet his future wife, Kathy Picone, who worked as a manager for AT&T Long Lines in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Eric and Kathy were married in 1983 and spent their honeymoon on a year-long bicycle trip around the world, touching every continent except Antarctica, including a month in New Zealand.

Eric adopted his father's love of flying early and in the last 15 years of his life, when time and circumstances allowed, became an avid aviation enthusiast. He proudly owned and flew two different Beechcraft Baron's, one in the US and another in New Zealand, and was qualified as a single engine, twin engine, instrument and commercial pilot. He also acquired a coveted vintage 1930's Beech Model 17 Staggerwing airplane, the first airplane built specifically for the business executive, which won the Gold Medal at the 2012 Oshkosh Airshow for best vintage restoration.

He assumed his most recent management role as CEO of 2degress Mobile of Auckland, New Zealand in 2009, shortly before the carrier's commercial launch and served until his career and life came to a premature end. In his foreshortened tenure at 2degrees, he led the third mobile phone competitor in New Zealand to acquire over 1,000,000 customers and 21% of the subscriber market share by lowering the cost and increasing accessibility to mobile phone services throughout the country. In the process, Eric and his wife Kathy became immersed in their new life in New Zealand, recently becoming permanent residents. In one of his last public interviews, published in ComputerWorld three days before his untimely death he was quoted as saying, "This is home. It's a wonderful place to live. I've worked and lived in seven different countries and the quality of life here is unequalled. I don't know why people leave."

Eric is survived by one daughter, his father, three siblings, two nieces and three nephews.

There will be a memorial for Eric and Kathy on April 26th at 6pm at the PACCAR Pavillion at Olympic Structure Park located at 2901 Western Avenue, Seattle, WA.


Katherine Marie Picone Hertz, 64, of Auckland, New Zealand, died unexpectedly on March 30, 2013 in New Zealand.

She was born to Dorothy Anne Picone and the late Philip J. Picone in New York City on December 3, 1948. Kathy's childhood was spent in Madison Wisconsin where she graduated from Madison West High School in 1966. She attended the University of Wisconsin where she was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and she received her Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude from the University of Wisconsin in 1970. She received her Master's in Business Administration from New York University in 1973.

Kathy worked in various managerial positions with AT&T from 1970 until 1986 in New York City and New Jersey. She met her husband Eric while working at AT&T and they were married on August 20, 1983.

Kathy showed her sense of adventure when she decided to study in France during her junior year in college. The quest for adventure continued with marathons, triathlons, and a bicycle trip around the world with husband Eric in 1984 - 1985.

Kathy and Eric moved to Portland, Maine where Kathy held management positions within Unum Insurance Company. They moved to Madison, Wisconsin where she worked for the Governor's office and then Wisconsin Power and Light. She led the acquisition for WPL of two Iowa power companies.

Eric's work took them to Ecuador, California, Seattle and finally to New Zealand. During this time Kathy spent quality time with her daughter and also did volunteer work; teaching English as a second language and working with University students to prepare them for their working careers.

Kathy is survived by her daughter, Ariela Hertz of New Zealand; her mother, Dorothy Anne Picone of Green Valley, AZ; sister Ruth Moen (Thomas Moen) of Green Valley AZ; brothers John Picone (Debbie) of New Berlin, WI; and Tom Picone (Cindy) of Madison, WI; nephew Jason Picone of Minneapolis, MN; father-in-law Irwin Hertz of Indiatlantic, FL ;brother-in-laws Eli Hertz (Deb) of Fairfax, VA; Marc Hertz (Susan) of Denver, CO; sister-in-law Johanna Hertz of Wynnnewood, PA; nieces and nephews Dahlia Hertz of Denver, CO; Gideon Hertz of Washington, DC; Rachel and Benjamin Hertz of Fairfax, VA.

There will be a memorial for Eric and Kathy on April 26th at 6pm at the PACCAR Pavillion at Olympic Structure Park located at 2901 Western Avenue, Seattle, WA.
Published in The Seattle Times on Apr. 23, 2013
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