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."

"He would share his boats and his fishing expenses with a lot of people and a lot of important people," Schueck said. "And, of course, he believed that everybody should have a good time. And one philosophy that he always shared with me was there was no time to have a bad time."

Still, Tyson believed that, "You don't plan for the good, you plan for the bad," Schueck said.

"We lost a real, real dedicated man to the state of the Arkansas and to Springdale and northwest Arkansas," he said.

Dash Goff, a Fayetteville oil and gas businessman, said he was introduced to Tyson in Dallas about 40 years ago by Hayden McIlroy.

"He was one of the smartest people I've ever met, and from time to time I've asked him for business advice," Goff said.

"Your first loss is your least loss, a bad deal doesn't get better and don't chase bad money with good money," are three significant business points Goff said Tyson would repeat.

Aside from business, the two also shared a passion for fishing.

"I got to see a lot of the world because of him," Goff said. A 1,000-pound black marlin was the largest fish Goff could recall being reeled in on a trip the two shared.

A statement from the National Chicken Council, which named Don Tyson a "Pioneer of the Industry" in 2004, called Tyson a "titan of the modern chicken industry."

"From the beginning of his leadership of his company, he saw the future of the industry and worked to make his vision a reality. He was a pioneer in moving beyond commodity chicken to value-added products and in the development of new products and international markets," the council said in a statement. "Don Tyson was a key figure in transforming the industry into the powerhouse it is today. Not only his family and his company have suffered a loss, but the entire industry as well."

University of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart called Don Tyson's death "an immense loss."

"To all who knew him, he was a larger-than-life figure-a business pioneer, a great philanthropist, and a dear friend. A self-made man, he wasn't just a great Arkansas success story, he was a great American success story," Gearhart said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. His vast and big-hearted presence will be sorely missed."



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