Wal-Mart Heir John Walton Dies in Plane Crash
Wal-Mart heir John Walton is the latest celebrity to die from crashing a private plane.
Wal-Mart heir John T. Walton, who threw his considerable financial support behind efforts to educate low-income children, has died while at the controls of a homemade, experimental aircraft. Walton, of Jackson, Wyo., crashed shortly after takeoff Monday from Jackson Hole Airport in Grand Teton National Park, the company said. The cause of the crash was not known and will be investigated, officials said. Walton was 58.
“I think all you can say is he was just a good man and today, you grieve,” Jay Allen, Wal-Mart senior vice president of corporate affairs told The Morning News of Springdale.
Walton, a son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and a member of the company’s board, was a major advocate of school vouchers, supporting efforts to create taxpayer-funded ways for students to attend private schools. Walton founded the Children’s Scholarship Fund in 1998 to provide low-income families with money to send their children to private schools. The foundation started with $67 million from the Walton Family Foundation and benefited more than 67,000 children.
In March, Forbes Magazine listed John Walton as No. 11 on its list of the world’s richest people with a net worth of $18.2 billion. He was tied with his brother Jim, one spot behind his bother Rob, and just ahead of his sister Alice and his mother Helen.
Sam Walton’s empire was enormous indeed if he could divide it five ways and still leave his heirs among the richest individuals in the world. All of the money in the world, though, won’t protect you from the laws of gravity.