UPDATE: Business Leaders on Don Tyson: 'A Dedicated Man'

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011 3:51 pm  

Friend Thomas Schueck said Don Tyson, above, the former chairman and CEO of Tyson Foods, was "one of the most giving persons I've ever known in my life."

Business and political leaders from throughout Arkansas on Thursday offered words for Don Tyson, the former chairman and CEO of Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale, who died Thursday.

Among them, Alice Walton, daughter of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. founder Sam Walton, called Don Tyson "a mentor and a real friend."

"I don't think the Northwest Arkansas Council or the regional airport would have happened without his leadership and vision," she said. "He understood the importance of bringing the region together with one voice to accomplish key goals."

Warren Stephens, chairman, president and CEO of Stephens Inc. of Little Rock, said Don Tyson and the Tyson company were more than just clients of the investment firm.

"Our families have enjoyed a close friendship spanning 50 years and three generations," Stephens said. "Don worked hard, was a leader and innovator in the food production business, and built one of the world's largest and most successful protein based food companies.

"We lost a great friend today and we extend our sympathy to his family and Tyson associates."

Frank Broyles, former athletic director at the University of Arkansas, said he was saddened to hear of Don Tyson's death.

"Don was a good friend, a world-renowned business leader, a dedicated Arkansan and a loyal supporter of the University of Arkansas and the Razorbacks. Whenever the time came to build or renovate an athletic facility to help strengthen and grow the Razorback program, Don was among the very first to step up and play a major part," Broyles said. "His longtime support of the Razorbacks helped enable thousands of student-athletes to compete and succeed while proudly representing the university and our state. My thoughts and prayers are with the Tyson family."

Thomas Schueck, president and chief operating officer of Lexicon Inc. of Little Rock, knew Tyson for about 25 years and is among honorary pallbearers. He called Tyson "one of the finest individuals I've ever met in my life."

"His business skills speak for themselves. He is, of course, one of the most giving persons I've ever known in my life," he said.

"He treated everybody with dignity."

Schueck cited Tyson's philanthropic efforts. Tyson created and led the Tyson Family Foundation, which provides scholarships for post-secondary students from communities where Tyson Foods has operations. Tyson supported other cuases education, conservation and the arts.

Schueck also talked about Tyson's love of fishing, which Tyson himself shared with Arkansas Business and the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal in 2004.



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