Industry memorializes Don Tyson with praise

by Bryan Salvage
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SPRINGDALE, Ark. – As the news of Don Tyson’s death on Jan 6 spread throughout the industry, more industry groups and companies expressed their sadness at hearing that he had died earlier that day.

“The Poultry Federation is saddened by the news of the death of poultry icon, Don Tyson,” a Poultry Federation statement said. “Our sympathy goes out to the entire Tyson family during this difficult time. We also extend our thoughts and prayers to the dedicated Tyson team members around the world.

“Don Tyson was The Poultry Federation’s Man of the Year in 1977 and 1986 and continued throughout his life to be one of the largest supporters of The Poultry Federation and its mission,” the statement said.

“In my short tenure as president of The Poultry Federation, Don Tyson became a personal friend and never missed an opportunity to help our organization,” said Marvin Childers. “Not only was he always the first to contribute financially, he participated in open discussions on many issues related to the poultry industry. He was a wealth of knowledge, a tough negotiator and one of the most generous individuals I’ve ever known. I will definitely miss his counsel.

“Attendees at our Annual Poultry Festival will miss Don’s active participation in the barbecue contest, which was one of Don’s favorite events,” Childers added. “Don always gave of his time to visit with every barbecue team, to take photos with the cook team participants, and to let the Tyson team members know how important they were to Tyson Foods.”

Bill Buckner, Cargill corporate senior vice president, said, “Cargill mourns the loss of Don Tyson, a meat industry and business visionary whose tireless efforts to bring consumers better products and grow the company significantly contributed to the success of today’s Tyson Foods. The meat business benefitted from Don’s leadership, and we salute his many personal and professional accomplishments. He will be missed by those of us who had the good fortune to know him.”

University of Arkansas Chancellor G. David Gearhart said, "I received the news of Don’s passing with great sorrow. This is 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. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. His vast and big-hearted presence will be sorely missed."
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