OK Foods was founded by Wenderoth’s father, and Collier initially joined the family business selling feed for OK Feed Mills, according to The City Wire. He became president of the company in 1955. Wenderoth added poultry processing and distribution to the growing business. In 2010, the company posted revenue of $928.3 million.
Wenderoth’s record of public service includes two terms as president of the Arkansas Poultry Federation and two terms as chairman of the National Broiler Council (now the National Chicken Council). Both organizations recognized Wenderoth with their highest honors.
He won the Poultry Federation’s “Man of the Year” award in 1982 and in 2004 received the National Chicken Council’s “Broiler Industry Pioneer” award. Wenderoth was also named one of 32 founders of the Arkansas Poultry Industry by the Poultry Center of Excellence at the Univ. of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He was inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2009.
“I know I speak for people across the industry when I pay tribute to the life and career of Collier Wenderoth, Jr., who was chairman of the National Chicken Council in 1978-80 and was recognized as a ‘Pioneer of the Industry’ at our fiftieth anniversary annual conference in 2004,” said Mike Brown, president of NCC. “We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.”
“Collier Wenderoth was a visionary leader of the poultry industry, building his family company and the entire industry with it,” said George Watts, president emeritus of NCC. “He was always generous with his time and energy. As a business and civic leader, he commanded respect in Arkansas and across the country. He will truly be missed.”
He is survived by his wife, Nancy, four daughters; Nancy Smith-Robinson of Fort Smith, Ark., Gingie Watson of Marietta, Ga., Janie Goins of Fort Smith, Ark., and Sally Jones of Little Rock, Ark.; one sister; Nan Wenderoth Pierce of Hot Springs, Ark., 14 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.