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."

Political Leaders Remember

In a statement, former Arkansas Governor and President Bill Clinton called Don Tyson "one of the most interesting people I've ever known." "His brilliant mind, unfailing energy, and fearless determination to prevail in every endeavor on his own terms enabled him to build a great company, have a real impact on the politics of Arkansas and America, and lead a fascinating life.

"Though he sailed the world to fish and to feed his insatiable hunger to learn and experience new things, he held onto his roots in Northwest Arkansas and remained fiercely loyal to family, friends, the people of Tyson's, and the causes he cared about.

"From the first time I met him in 1974 until our last talk a few months ago, I was captivated by his keen insight, straight talk and raw energy. I'll miss him. He did it his way," Clinton said.

Gov. Mike Beebe called Tyson "a business giant who helped put Arkansas on the world map for poultry and food production. 

"As he reached higher and higher levels of success, he never forgot where he came from, remaining a life-long Arkansan and generously giving back to his community and our State," Beebe said. "Don will be greatly missed."

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said he has "many fond memories of Don Tyson."

"I will miss his friendship, spirit, and passion for the outdoors," he said. "Don never forgot where he came from, including the hard work and principles that made him a business legend. His success and leadership was a springboard for our state's economy, and his philanthropy will continue to lift up Arkansans in countless ways. 

"My prayers and thoughts go out to his family and friends during this difficult time."

Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., says Tyson's passing leaves "an enormous hole" in the 3rd District of northwest Arkansas:

"Don's life was one that encompassed the true American dream. Because of his vision, what was once just a small family business known as Tyson Feed and hatchery is now a key part of the state's economic engine. But for those who knew Don personally, he was more than businessman. He was a good man. For that, he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family." 

Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark. of Arkansas' 2nd District in central Arkansas, said he was sad to learn of Tyson's death.

"He built a multi-billion dollar international company - employing thousands - out of a small family business in northwest Arkansas," Griffin said. "His business success and record of philanthropy in Arkansas are legendary. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Tyson family today."

(Mark Friedman, Worth Sparkman and Gwen Moritz contributed to this story.)



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