UPDATED: Gov. Huckabee, Senator Blanche Lincoln, Don Tyson Honor J.B. Hunt

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2006 4:07 pm  

Johnelle and J.B. Hunt hosted a reception for University of Central Arkansas alumni at at the J.B. Hunt Parkway Tower in Rogers this fall. Johnelle is a UCA alumna. J.B. Hunt, 79, died Thursday.

The founder of one the largest publicly traded trucking company in North America, Johnnie Bryan "J.B." Hunt, 79, died Thursday.
The company he founded, J.B. Hunt Transportation Services Inc. of Lowell, confirmed the death in a news release.
Hunt's funeral will be held at the Church at Pinnacle Hills in Rogers at noon on Monday. Visitation takes place from 2-5 p.m. Sunday at First Baptist Church of Springdale.
The 79-year-old Hunt had been receiving treatment at Northwest Medical Center-Springdale. He was hospitalized Saturday for a fall-related injury.
No details about the accident have been released.
Hunt is survived by his wife, Johnelle, a son, Bryan, and a daughter, Jane Hardin.
Gov. Mike Huckabee said he and wife Janet have been "friends and fans" of the Hunts for a long time are are "deeply grieved by J.B.'s untimely death."
"He has been one of the state's most colorful figures, but more importantly he has personally been responsible for creating thousands of good jobs. Every night in our state, families sit down to dinner and have the security of a good job because of J.B. We have lost a true friend and leader and most of all a sincere Christian gentleman."
Senator Blanche Lincoln shared similar sentiments for Hunt.
"While his success in business is truly inspiring, it was his kind heart and treatment of his fellow man that touched so many others. My thoughts, prayers and deepest of sympathies are with his entire family at this difficult time."
Jim Lindsey, chairman and CEO of Lindsey Management Co. of Fayetteville, called Hunt "a man of immense good will."
"He was not only a legend in Northwest Arkansas and in all of Arkansas, but he was truly a one-of-a-kind person if you looked all over the United States of America," Lindsey said.
Don Tyson, the retired senior chairman of Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale, called Hunt "a true Arkansas and American original."
"He was the personification of the word entrepreneur," Tyson said. "The poultry industry was proud to be associated with him from the beginning. As a matter of fact, I bought one of the first loads of rice hulls from him back in the early days, when he was still driving the truck himself. The entire business community of our state and nation will miss him and his influence for years to come."
University of Arkansas Chancellor John A. White also commented on Hunt's death.
"The UA community is deeply saddened by the passing of our great friend J.B. Hunt," White said. "The university, Northwest Arkansas, the state of Arkansas, and the entire nation will miss his leadership, pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit, support, and generosity...His impact will live on through [the University of Arkansas' transportation and logistics teaching and research programs."
Started with 5 Trucks
Born in Cleburne County, Ark. in 1927, Hunt started J.B. Hunt Co., a rice hull business, in 1961. In 1969, he and his wife started J.B. Hunt Transport with five trucks and seven refrigerated trailers as a sideline to support his rice hull business. His efforts laid way for the evolution to J.B. Hunt Transportation Services Inc.
Hunt gave up his position of company president in 1982 but continued to serve as chairman until 1995. He took on the title senior chairman, turning over day-to-day operations. In 2004, Hunt fully retired from the company.
Since entering retirement, much of Hunt's interests have focused on his real estate development venture, The Pinnacle Group, which recently opened the 980,000-SF Pinnacle Hills Promenade shopping center in Rogers. Hunt lived in Goshen, Ark. he and his wife of 54 years, Johnelle, remained the largest shareholder of JBHT stock. Johnelle Hunt and son, Bryan, remain company directors.

More on J.B. Hunt
Hunt's Move Makes Perfect Sense [Arkansasbusiness.com]
J.B. and Johnelle Hunt [Arkansas Business Hall of Fame]
J.B. Hunt Company Profile [Arkansasbusiness.com]
Company History [J.B. Hunt]



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