Industry 'titan' Don Tyson dies

by Bryan Salvage
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SPRINGDALE, Ark. –Don Tyson, former chairman and CEO of Tyson Foods and a leading member of the company’s board of directors, died the morning of Jan. 6 at the age of 80 after a brief illness. “Don was known by all to work hard, but also to play hard,” said Donnie Smith, Tyson president and CEO.

Don Tyson was the son of Tyson Foods Inc. founder John W. Tyson, and father of current company Chairman John H. Tyson.

“He was famous the world over for his ‘No Bad Days’ outlook on life, and well known for telling everyone that ‘I don’t have time to have a bad time,’” said Smith.

“Don’s passing will be mourned by all who knew him, especially his family, his countless friends and business leaders and associates in Arkansas, across the country and around the world,” Smith said.

The National Chicken Council said in a statement, “Don Tyson was 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. 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.”

"Don Tyson will be remembered as a true pioneer in our industry, a leader who possessed great vision and passion for excellence," said Bill Lovette, Pilgrim's Pride Corp. president and CEO and former Tyson executive. "His significant contributions have played a key role in our industry's growth and development over the years and helped position chicken as a leading protein."

A private family service is planned for Saturday, Jan. 8, with John Tyson, John Randal Tyson, Leland Tollett, Donald “Buddy” Wray, Jim Blair, Greg Mohney, Ned Tabor and Fred Cameron acting as pall bearers.

A larger public memorial service is being planned, with details to be announced later.

To read Tyson Foods obituary, click here: http://bit.ly/ii8ZOD.
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