Trucking Icon J. B. Hunt Dead at 79

LOWELL, Ark. — J. B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., announced the death of its founder, Johnnie Bryan Hunt Sr., of injuries sustained in a fall at his home. Hunt was 79.

Hunt, a former truck driver who grew a five-tractor fleet into one of North America’s five biggest trucking companies, retired from active service to the company in 1995, but remained on its board of directors until 2004. At that point that company had 16,000 employees and 11,000 trucks.

He and his wife, Johnelle, still remained the largest shareholder of J.B. Hunt stock. Mrs. Hunt and their son, Bryan, remain as directors of the company.

After retiring, he spent the last 11 years passionately pursuing new opportunities as a private investor in real estate, construction, development and other activities.

A staunch supporter in the development of Northwest Arkansas, Hunt was an outspoken ambassador for the growth in the region, a man who put his money where his mouth was by engaging in several projects that dot the Northwest Arkansas landscape and stand as a testimony to his progressive spirit.

His business really took off after striking agreements with Wal-Mart owner Sam Walton, who eventually became Hunt’s largest customer.

But he wasn’t all business. Known for his kindness to others, Hunt carried a wad of $100 bills in a gold money clip and regularly handed them to people he thought needed the cash.

A company statement said Hunt, the son of Depression-era sharecroppers from rural Arkansas, leaves a legacy of hard work, family values, the importance of faith, the example of what determination can accomplish, an appreciation for philanthropy and a ton of memories.

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