R. Michael Kammerer Jr., who put some of the millions he made in the cable television industry behind an effort to find the final resting place of famed pilot Amelia Earhart, died May 12 in Albuquerque, N.M. He was 67.
Kammerer was the founder of ITN Networks. Raised on Long Island, he spent two decades in advertising before he founded ITN in 1983 from a basement office in his family’s home in Chappaqua, N.Y. The company expanded to become one of the largest suppliers of non-network, primetime advertising in the United States.
By 1991, Kammerer turned over ITN’s operations to a management team and headed to New Mexico, where he bought an adobe ranch in Santa Fe and took up roping.
In 2001, Kammerer got involved in the search for Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10E on the ocean floor near Howland Island, a refueling stop just a few miles north of the equator. Earhart’s flight in 1937 captured the imagination of people all over the world, and her disappearance resulted in decades of debate over where the plane went down. He also bought a 1935 Lockheed Electra 10-E, the only sister ship of the plane Earhard used, and he resotred a 1943 PBY Catalina flying boat so that veteran naval pilots form World War II could fly her again.
He is survived by his wife Susan; a daughter; a son; three stepchildren; three brothers and a sister.
Donations may be made to the Code of the West Foundation, 16-B Camino Calabasas, Santa Fe, NM 87506.