Categotry Archives: Business

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Inez Threet

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Categories: Business

Inez June Threet, the first employee hired at Wal-Mart, died on Nov. 17 from a heart ailment. She was 84.
A resident of Centerton, Ark., Threet was hired by Sam Walton in 1950 to work as a clerk in a sundries store he’d purchased. That store became the first Wal-Mart, and Threet was eventually joined by almost 1.5 million associates.
Over the next quarter of a century, Threet was promoted to senior positions and accompanied Walton on Wal-Mart inspections until her retirement in 1975. Her grandson, Kenneth Threet, also works as a truck driver for the discount chain.

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Bill Sargent

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Categories: Business

H. William “Bill” Sargent Jr., an inventor and master showman, died on Oct. 19 from a heart attack. He was 76.
Sargent was always interested in electronics. At six, he accidentally burned down his home while trying to fix a radio. Undaunted, he became a licensed ham radio operator at nine and an electronics expert who held 400 patents on tape heads, distribution amplifiers and electronic camera components.
In 1959, Sargent moved to Los Angeles and began several expensive schemes that would earn him millions one moment and cost him millions the next. He was the first person to launch pay-per-view television, and the first to distribute a closed-circuit boxing match between Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) and George Logan to over 1,500 U.S. movie theaters.
Producing the highly successful 1979 comedy film, “Richard Pryor: Live in Concert,” earned Sargent enough money to finance a state-of-the-art electronics laboratory in Columbia, Mo. He accidentally burned it down when he placed an acetylene torch on an open 50-gallon drum of lacquer thinner.
The North American Theatre Owners once named him Showman of the Year. Sargent was working on his memoirs when he died.

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Lorraine Dunn Davis

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Categories: Business, Sports

Lorraine Dunn Davis, a two-time Olympic sprinter and accountant, died on Oct. 16 from a heart attack. She was 61.
Born in Panama, Davis was naturally drawn to sports, particularly softball, volleyball and track. She didn’t seriously focus on running until a friend told her she could travel the world if she became a member of Panama’s national women’s track team.
Davis trained hard and qualified for the team when she was only 15 years old. She won a silver medal at the 1959 Pan American Games in Chicago as a member of the 4×100 meters relay team. The following year, she represented Panama in the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.
In 1961, Davis received a track scholarship at Tennessee State University, a school known for its excellent track and field program. During her junior year, she competed in the 1963 Pan American Games in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and won a bronze medal in the 200 meters with a time of 24.7 seconds. She also represented Panama in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.
After graduation, Davis gave up competitive running and became an accountant for the Caterpillar Tractor Co. and the Pabst Brewing Co. She spent the last two decades working for the National Bar Association in Washington D.C.

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Herbert Muschel

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Categories: Business, Media

Herbert Muschel, the founder of PR Newswire, died on Nov. 4. Cause of death was not released. He was 85.
Muschel graduated with a journalism degree from New York University then served as a radio operator and purser for the Merchant Marine during World War II. In 1954, Muschel started PR Newswire, a service that gave businesses a way to distribute press releases to the media. Working out of his New York City apartment, Muschel used Western Union teleprinters to send the releases, and personally called editors to share breaking news. His first client? Trans World Airlines.
Muschel sold the company to Western Union in 1971; it’s now owned by United Business Media Plc of London. Today, PR Newswire has offices in 14 countries and sends its releases in 27 different languages.

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Ed Lanctot

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Categories: Business

Edward E. Lanctot, the entrepreneur who transformed a tiny hardware company into a nationwide chain of stores, died on Oct. 30 from complications of a stroke. He was 84.
Raised in Minnesota, Lanctot’s first job out of high school was working for hardware wholesaler John Cotter. After serving a four-year tour of duty with the Army during World War II, Lanctot moved to Chicago and helped Cotter build a small hardware company. They created a co-op of local mom-and-pop stores and transformed it into True Value Hardware.
Lanctot handled the company’s advertising, using celebrities like Harry Caray and Pat Summerall to promote the chain. When he retired in 1989, the company consisted of 7,000 stores.

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