It is with deep sorrow that we share the passing on Jan. 29, 2022, of Howard L. Wu — an aviation industry legend, a devoted father, an incredible friend to so many, and an integral part of Fafinski, Mark and Johnson.
Howard’s career as an aviation attorney was a remarkable one. After graduating from Antioch College in 1970, he earned his JD from Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley in 1973 and following graduation, went to work for Cooley Godward (now Cooley LLP). After a few years at the large firm, Howard went in-house at Itel Corporation, Air and Fleet Services Group, and then to Tiger International/Flying Tigers. He later joined McDonnell Douglas Corporation as Assistant General Counsel and Regional Vice President and General Manager of Aircraft Trading Contracts and continued to serve as transactional counsel at Boeing when Boeing acquired McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Howard was Managing Director and Associate General Counsel at U.S. Airways from 1998 until he joined FMJ in 2005. It was our firm’s great honor and excellent fortune to bring Howard on board and to work side by side with him for 17 years.
Howard’s practice philosophy was one of integrity and kindness, and says volumes about who he was as a person.
“After all, it is a very small world. Not only will you repeatedly come across people with whom you have negotiated transactions in the past, but it is not at all unusual for the person on the other side of the table one day to end up on your side of the table another day, and vice versa. That is why one’s reputation for integrity, professionalism, and competence is incredibly important.” – Howard’s Practice Philosophy
While he continued to reside in San Francisco, he would make the trek to Minnesota regularly and even in the brutal winter months for FMJ’s Shareholder Retreat. It was always a good day at the firm when Howard graced us with his calming presence and sweet smile. The firm waited with bated breath for Howard’s annual email celebrating Chinese (Lunar) New Year and announcing which animal was to be celebrated that year. The emails always ended with a wish for all of us and our families to have a “very healthy, safe, and prosperous year.”
Howard left an amazing legacy in both his professional and personal lives and he will be greatly missed.