Fred Korth

Frederick Herman Korth (September 9, 1909 – September 14, 1998) served as the 56th U.S. Secretary of the Navy during 1962-63; he was also an Assistant Secretary of the Army in 1952-53.

Fred Korth
United States Secretary of the Navy
In office
January 4, 1962  November 1, 1963
PresidentJohn F. Kennedy
Preceded byJohn Connally
Succeeded byPaul B. Fay (Acting)
Personal details
Frederick Herman Korth

(1909-09-09)September 9, 1909
Yorktown, Texas, U.S.
DiedSeptember 14, 1998(1998-09-14) (aged 89)
El Paso, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Vera Sansom Connell
(m. 1934; div. 1964)

Charlotte Marguerite Brooks (m. 1980)
EducationUniversity of Texas, Austin (BA)
George Washington University (LLB)

Appointed as Navy Secretary by President John F. Kennedy on January 4, 1962, Korth resigned October 14, 1963 effective November 1, 1963. Various sources cite different reasons for Secretary Korth's departure.[1]

Life and career

Korth was born in September 1909 in Yorktown, Texas, the son of Eleanor Maria (Stark) and Fritz R. J. Korth, who was a banker and rancher.[2] In later life, he lived in Coronado Country Club Estates, El Paso, Texas and Foxhall, Washington, D.C.

He was president of the Continental National Bank of Fort Worth, Texas. Continental National Bank was one of a number of banks which participated in a line of credit for the TFX (Tactical Fighter Experimental), which later emerged as the more well-known F-111 Aardvark. When asked about this alleged conflict of interest at a press conference, President Kennedy responded, "...I have no evidence that Mr. Korth acted in any way improperly in the TFX matter....I have no evidence that Mr. Korth benefited improperly during his term of office in the Navy, and I have no evidence, and you have not, as I understand the press has not produced any, nor the McClellan Committee, which would indicate that in any way he acted improperly in the TFX. I have always believed that innuendoes should be justified before they are made, either by me and the Congress, or even in the press."[3] A commentary in the May, 1985 edition of Proceedings magazine exonerates Korth for any improprieties relating to the awarding of TFX.

When he was not serving in the above public or private sector capacities, Fred Korth was a lawyer in private practice. One of his better known cases[4] was a small one heard June 24, 1948 in the County of Tarrant, Texas, when his client, Edwin A. Ekdahl, was officially divorced from Marguerite Frances Claverie Ekdahl (also known as Marguerite Oswald), whose son from a previous marriage was Lee Harvey Oswald.[5] Following the end of Korth's first marriage in 1964, he began a romantic relationship with heiress and socialite Marjorie Merriweather Post, daughter of breakfast-cereal magnate C. W. Post, twenty years his senior. He was a co-executor of Post's will. Part of her estate was her mansion on Palm Beach Island, Mar-a-Lago, purchased in 1980 by Donald Trump.

On August 23, 1980 at Immaculate Conception Church in Washington, D.C., he wed widowed Charlotte Brooks Williams.[6][7] Korth died in September 1998 in El Paso, Texas and is buried under a three century old Texas Live Oak tree on his ranch in Karnes County, Texas.[8]

His stepdaughter, Melissa Williams O'Rourke, is the mother of former U.S. Representative Beto O'Rourke.[9]

See also


  1. Thompson, Robert E. (October 15, 1963). "Navy Sec'y. Korth Quits After Row With McNamara". Boston Globe. Boston, MA. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  2. Kennedy, John F. (October 31, 1963). "NEWS CONFERENCE 63, OCTOBER 31, 1963". News Conferences (Interview). Interviewed by News Press. Washington, D.C.: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  3. UPI (November 28, 1963). "Oswald's Mom Cruel to Mate, Jury Held". Detroit Free Press. Detroit, Michigan. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  4. FBI Report (June 24, 1964). Edwin A. Ekdahl versus Marguerite C. Ekdahl (Report). Case Number 15537-D. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  5. "Charlotte Brooks christening; from "Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Church records 1900-1920 (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)"". FamilySearch (in Latin). Retrieved March 27, 2019. ADNOTATIONES: Married Frederick Herman Korth Immaculate Conception Washington, D.C. 9/23/1980
  6. Beale, Betty (August 17, 1980). "Watergate More Than Political Scandal". The Indianapolis Star. North American Syndicate. Retrieved March 24, 2019. And former Secretary of the Navy Fred Korth was showing friends a photo of the good-looking El Paso, Texas, widow he will marry on Aug. 23 – Charlotte Williams – owner of El Paso's decorating and furnishing firm called Charlotte's.
  7. Frederick Herman Korth at Find a Grave
  8. Hagan, Joe (March 13, 2019). "Riding Around with Beto O'Rourke as He Comes to Grips with a Presidential Run". Vanity Fair. Retrieved March 24, 2019. ... his grandfather through marriage, Fred Korth, a former secretary of the navy in the Kennedy administration.
Government offices
Preceded by
John B. Connally, Jr
United States Secretary of the Navy
January 4, 1962 – November 1, 1963
Succeeded by
Paul B. Fay
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.