The Waltons’ legacy is about more than business success. It’s about friends, family, and community.
An Extraordinary Life
Samuel Moore Walton died on April 5, 1992, just weeks after he had received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His life, as the citation said, “epitomized the American dream.” From his youth in the rural Midwest to his founding of one of the most successful companies in the world, Sam Walton remained true to his roots. For Walmart associates especially, “Mr. Sam” was indeed a good friend, one who believed that ordinary people, working together, could do extraordinary things. He never lost his enthusiasm for doing what he enjoyed most: visiting with his beloved associates at Walmart stores all over the country.
James Lawrence “Bud” Walton
“Bud” Walton, Sam Walton’s younger brother, was one of a kind. As co-founder of Walmart, “Mr. Bud” was his brother’s closest confidant. Together they navigated the uncharted future of discount retailing. As a senior vice president, Bud focused on real estate and expanding the number of stores, which at the time of his death (March 21, 1995) numbered more than 2,600. Bud had a gift for making people feel special. He could magically be a boss, leader, and good friend, all at the same time. He was an unassuming man whose generosity touched thousands of lives. The Bud Walton Arena at the University of Arkansas, is named in his honor.
Helen Robson Walton
Helen Walton spent her life sharing her time and resources with others. “Being married to a man with initiative means you’re going to be making new trails,” she once said. From the early days, she was involved in helping Sam build his retail business. He considered her one of his best advisers. As a young mother, she cared for their children and volunteered for the PTA, Girl Scouts, and community groups. Later, she organized and funded programs for preschool education and child care, established scholarships, and contributed to higher education and the arts. A generous and dedicated philanthropist, she described her work as a “volunteer to community, state, and nation.” Helen Walton passed away on April 19, 2007.
I would like to be remembered as a good friend ... That’s important. I have such a strong feeling for the folks in our company. They have meant so much to me.