[washington post] John D. Goeken, a radio repairman and son of a Lutheran minister who co-founded the telecommunications conglomerate MCI and earned the nickname "Jack the Giant Killer" for his early role in the lawsuit that dismantled AT&T's long-distance monopoly, died Sept. 16 at a hospital in Joliet, Ill. He was 80 and had esophageal cancer.
Mr. Goeken helped found a number of successful companies that revolutionized the way we communicate. At the time of his death, he was chairman and chief executive of Goeken Group Corp., an Illinois-based lighting technology and health-care information company.
Beneath Mr. Goeken's frumpy appearance -- he wore old business suits that were frayed and carried briefcases bursting with loose papers -- was a telecommunications genius who became one of the industry's most powerful innovators.
Besides MCI, Mr. Goeken's ventures included the largest computer network of its time -- connecting thousands of florists and aiding last-minute flower-senders across the country -- and the first commercially successful airplane telephone service.
In 1991, Business Week named Mr. Goeken "the best entrepreneur" and "the phone world's most prolific inventor."
John D. Goeken, co-founder of MCI, dies at 80