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John T. Walton
Born John Thomas Walton
(1946-10-18)October 18, 1946
Newport, Arkansas, U.S.
Died June 27, 2005(2005-06-27) (aged 58)
Jackson, Wyoming, U.S.
Cause of death Plane crash
Place of burial Bentonville Cemetery
Bentonville, Arkansas, U.S.
Spouse(s) Mary Ann Gunn (divorced)
Christy Walton, 1 child
Children Lukas (son)

John Thomas Walton (October 8, 1946[1] – June 27, 2005) was a United States war veteran and a son of Walmart founder Sam Walton. He was also the chairman of True North Partners, a venture capital firm. Walton cofounded the Children's Scholarship Fund, providing tuition scholarships for disadvantaged youth.

Early life and service in the Vietnam War[]

Walton graduated from Bentonville High School where he was a star football player. Walton went on to attend the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. He dropped out of college in 1968 to spend more time playing the flute and enlisted in the U.S. Army (after the Vietnamese Tet Offensive).

During the Vietnam war Walton served in the Green Berets as part of the Studies and Observations Group. He was involved in combat in the A Shau Valley and in Laos, where he was the medic and second-in-command of a unit named "Spike Team Louisiana".[2] Walton later received a Silver Star for bravery in combat.

Later life[]

After returning from Vietnam Walton learned to fly and went to work as a pilot for Wal-Mart. He later left the company to fly crop-dusters over cotton fields in several southern states and co-founded Satloc, an aerial application company that pioneered the use of GPS technology in agricultural crop-dusting. Walton then moved to San Diego where he founded Corsair Marine,[3] a company that built trimaran sailboats. He also lived in Durango, Colorado and was an enthusiastic skier, mountain biker, hiker, motorcycle rider, sky diver and scuba diver. In 1998, as part of the Philanthropy Roundtable, Walton and friend Ted Forstmann established the Children's Scholarship Fund to provide tuition assistance for low-income families to send their children to private schools.[4] He was an advocate of school vouchers. For his achievements, he received the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership.


Wreckage of Walton's experimental aircraft at Grand Teton National Park. Taken by the National Park Service on June 27, 2005.

Walton died on June 27, 2005 when his CGS Hawk Arrow homebuilt aircraft (registered as an "experimental aircraft" under FAA regulations) that he was piloting crashed in Jackson, Wyoming. Walton's plane crashed at 12:20 p.m. local time (1820 GMT) shortly after taking off from Jackson Hole Airport.[5]

The National Transportation Safety Board later reported that Walton had improperly reinstalled the rear locking collar on the elevator control torque tube. This allowed the torque tube to move rearward during his flight and loosened the elevator control cable tension. The outcome of the failed repair was an inflight loss of pitch control, without which Walton could not control the aircraft's altitude.[5]

Shortly before his death Forbes magazine has estimated Walton's net worth to be US$18.2 billion, tied with his brother Jim as the 4th richest person in the United States[6] and 11th-richest person in the world.

Walton was survived by his wife Christy and their son Lukas. He was previously married to Mary Ann Gunn, who later became a judge in Arkansas.[7] He had two brothers and a sister, S. Robson Walton, Jim Walton and Alice Walton.

See also[]

  • Forbes list of billionaires (2004)
  • Walton family


  1. Tedlow, Richard S. (23 July 2001). "Sam Walton: Great From the Start". HBS Working Knowledge. Harvard Business School. Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  2. An account of the battle in Laos can be found in the book Across the Fence: The Secret War in Vietnam (ISBN 0-9743618-0-1) by John Stryker Meyer.
  3. Edwards, Larry M. (7 September 1992). "Corsair Marine Inc: Another Walton Filling a Niche". Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  4. "John Thomas Walton". News. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 29 June 2005. Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "DEN05FA100". NTSB. 31 October 2006. Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  6. Forbes 400 Richest in America 2004: #4, Walton, John T.
  7. "Son of Wal-Mart founder killed in plane crash". Associated Press. June 28, 2005. 

External links[]

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