A Look at 40 Under 40 Honorees Whose Lives Have Been Cut Short

Bill Gwatney is one of eight 40 Under 40 honorees who have since died — and one of three from the first class in 1994.

The first to die was Little Rock advertising executive Watty Wills, who committed suicide in 1998. Real estate agent Lanny Grissom, also a member of the class of 1994, died in 2004 at age 42.

Phillip Joiner, a construction executive honored in the class of 1998, was murdered in 2002 by a 19-year-old babysitter at the home of his estranged wife, now Lisa Redlich, who was a 40 Under 40 honoree in 2001.

Tragic accidents took the lives of Larry Waschka and Dan Norman. Waschka, founder of Waschka Capital Investments and a member of the class of 1997, drowned during a family vacation in Mexico in 2004 at age 42. Norman, who founded paper recycler Shred-It, was killed in an auto accident in 2006 at age 39.

Kristi Norris, who was honored in 2000 when she was the 37-year-old executive vice president of Malvern National Bank, died seven years later.

The most recent death was that of Elbert Crawford III, the former professional football player, sports agent and real estate agent, on May 2 at age 46. A heart attack had ended his playing career and another one took his life.