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David Glass, pictured in October at Missouri State University, died Jan. 9.
SBJ file photo
David Glass, pictured in October at Missouri State University, died Jan. 9.

David Glass dies at 84

Posted online

Prolific businessman David Glass, an alumnus and major donor of Missouri State University, died earlier this month, his family announced late last week.

The 84-year-old Mountain View native died Jan. 9 from complications associated with pneumonia, according to a news release.

Glass is perhaps best known for leading Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) as CEO and owning the Kansas City Royals.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business accounting from MSU in 1960, he went on to provide naming-level donations to his alma mater. His lead gifts funded the $14.2 million construction of Glass Hall in 1987, and 30 years later, Glass provided funding for a $30 million expansion and renovation to the academic building completed in 2017.

“David Glass was the kind of leader I aspire to be – gentle, humble, generous and kind,” MSU President Clif Smart said in a separate news release. “The moment I met him eight years ago, he treated me like a long-lost friend. He loved the university and attributed much of his success to the education he received here.

“His legacy will forever be a part of Missouri State University.”

Glass visited MSU in October 2019 for the university’s $250 million Onward Upward capital campaign announcement. His latest donation for David D. Glass Hall, home of the MSU College of Business, is part of the school’s fundraising campaign, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

“I’ve enjoyed the growth of the business school here,” Glass told SBJ in October. “I’d compare it with any of the other universities in the Midwest.”

After visiting MSU, Glass a month later entered into a $1 billion sale of the Royals to a new ownership group, The Associated Press reported in November.

Glass, according to a release posted to, started his retail career in 1960 with J.W. Crank Drug Co. in Springfield. He left the company when it sold in 1968, and later served as general manager of the Consumer Markets grocery store business in Springfield.

Walmart founder Sam Walton in 1976 recruited Glass to become the retailer’s chief financial officer. Glass went on to become president and CEO of Walmart in 1988, holding the lead role for 12 years. During his tenure, Walmart’s annual revenue rose to $165 billion from $16 billion, and the company first launched its Walmart Supercenter and Sam’s Club concepts, according to the release.

"Due to his authentic humility, we think David Glass may be the most underappreciated CEO in the history of business,” said Doug McMillon, current Walmart President and CEO, in the release. “The choices he made and the results of the company reflect his wisdom, dedication and servant leadership.”


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I had the privilege to work with David Glass when he was with Consumers Markets in the 1970's . I was a Store Manager for the locally owned regional chain. He indeed treated people with respect and was always available to lend his expertise to solve problems. Years after leaving Consumers and owning my own store, i saw Mr Glass at a local retail store. He called me by name and took time to say hello and visit about my business. He left Consumers in 1976 and went to Wal-Mart when Sam Walton called. The rest is history.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020
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