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The Final Resting Place of Noah Dietrich.
Feb 28th 1889 - Feb 15th 1982.
Ran the Hughes Tool Company for Howard Hughes for over 40 years.
Located in the Garden of Ascension plot 7677
Noah Dietrich was the chief executive officer of the Howard Hughes empire from 1925 -
1957. Dietrich was born in Madison, Wisconsin to Lutheran minister John Dietrich and the former Sarah Peters. In 1910 he started out in Maxwell, New Mexico in business, and later moved to Los Angeles and New York City before moving back to Los Angeles. There he passed the CPA exam.
In 1925, at the age of 36, Dietrich met Hughes, then 19 years old, who had just inherited majority ownership of Hughes Tool Company, started by his father, Howard R. Hughes Sr. Hughes Tool Company manufactured oil drilling equipment, especially the roller cutter drill bits the elder Hughes invented. Dietrich ran the tool company for the young Hughes, allowing him to pursue his interests in the movie and aircraft businesses. Dietrich eventually served as an executive for most of Hughes business, including Trans World Airlines (TWA), RKO Pictures and Hughes Aircraft.
In 1957, after 32 years with only two vacations, Dietrich left the Hughes organization over a dispute about an agreement Hughes promised to make that put more of Dietrich's income on a capital gains basis. At the time, Hughes was trying to finance jets for TWA and decided the key was to inflate Hughes Tool profits in order to sell the company to pay for the jets, since (as Dietrich would note years later) Hughes had rejected all other solutions because they threatened to dilute his TWA ownership. Dietrich agreed to go to Texas to implement the plan on condition that Hughes finally implement the capital gains agreement. When Hughes balked, Dietrich walked.
But he didn't exactly retire. Dietrich served on several corporate and financial boards as a well-respected advisor, as well as traveling to many speaking engagements. He wrote a book about his years with Hughes, Howard: The Amazing Mr. Hughes, in 1971; for many, the book was the first genuine inside look into the world of Howard Hughes, including and especially his occasional lack of concern that things he wanted done often required breaches of ethics or even the law. Only when he was diagnosed with the same illness that killed shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis did Dietrich finally retire in full. Among many other revelations, Dietrich revealed how he transported Hughes's considerable liquor supply from Texas to California during Prohibition by disguising them in packaging marked exposed, undeveloped film, shipping them by rail---and bribing a California agriculture inspector to look the other way while the parcels were removed from the car for spraying, as California agriculture law required at the time to protect cotton from contamination: the railroad car was an old cotton car. Hughes, Dietrich wrote, thought practically nothing of the risk Dietrich took---including to his own freedom---to move the booze to Hughes's new home. "It was," Dietrich wrote wryly, "just another affirmation of Howard's belief that 'Noah can do it'."
Dietrich was married three times (he held Hughes' near-suffocating demands on his time responsible for the collapse of his first marriage) and had five children and two step-children. Toward the end of Howard, Dietrich wrote that, no matter how their relationship ended, he never regretted his career with Hughes. "I much preferred the exciting life," he said, with the benefit of many years' hindsight. He said he wrote the book to leave his children and grandchildren a record of the role he played in one of America's most fascinating business stories as well as of what can happen when wealth is misused or abused. But he also admitted he'd have been tempted if Hughes should have called him one more time in the dead of night pleading for help: "And do you know what I'd say? 'OK, Howard, tell me what it is, now'." In the film The Aviator, Dietrich was portrayed by John C. Reilly, but the film downplayed the role Dietrich played in helping Hughes amass his fortune.