The recent death of tremendously respected Koury Corp. President Steve Showfety left holes in a lot of hearts and it also left a big hole in the leadership of Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA).

For six years, Showfety has been chairman of the Piedmont Triad Airport Authority, the board that runs the airport. Now, in the wake of his death, the board will have to decide who’ll lead it in the future at a time when there’s a great deal going on, including the creation of a giant aviation megasite.

Showfety was reelected to that leadership role for PTIA this spring, and, soon after, he fell ill. In recent months, Showfety attended meetings only by phone. Showfety’s term would have lasted until April 2020.

PTIA Executive Director Kevin Baker said the board will name a new chair but it is not clear when.

“In this situation, the board will conduct a new election on a schedule of their choosing,” Baker said. “Until then, the vice chair fills the role.”

Jim White, a business and civic leader in High Point, has been leading the board as vice chair for most of 2019.

Baker said Showfety’s contributions to the airport and to the community were very large and he added that Showfety’s guidance will be missed very much.

“He was a great man,” Baker said, adding that his death is “a big loss for the community at too young an age.”

Baker also said that Showfety always kept the good of the community at the center of his thoughts in all the decisions he made.

Airport Authority Member Bill Bencini, a former mayor of High Point, said that he, for one, had no interest in serving as chairman of the Airport Authority this year. Bencini added that, to him, White seemed like the natural choice since he has been doing a good job leading the board in recent months and since he is currently the vice chair.

Bencini also said he cannot recall the last time someone from High Point was the chair of the Airport Authority and he thought that would be a good thing.

Airport Authority Member Linda Shaw, who knew Showfety for years and years and served on many boards with him, said that the community suffered a great loss with his death.

“I lost a good friend, a buddy, and the community lost a great leader,” Shaw said.