Donald Nyrop, former head of Northwest Airlines, diesby Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Donald Nyrop, who led Northwest Airlines for nearly a quarter century, has died. He was 98.
Nyrop became president of Northwest in 1954 and remained in that position until 1978. Under his leadership, Northwest entered the jet age and greatly expanded its trans-Pacific service.
Nyrop had his run-ins with the airline's unions, and he was known as a real penny-pincher. But employees recall Nyrop with affection and respect.
Wayne Snyder worked for Northwest for 44 years -- 25 years as a mechanic and 19 as a manager. He says Nyrop provided excellent leadership and saved the airline.
"He understood the industry. And I think he had some foresight into where it was going. He was an excellent manager," said Snyder. "He used to say if you take care of the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves. Some people call him a tightwad. But he really got the airline solvent."
Services for Nyrop are planned for early January.