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Photo provided by DRURY UNIVERSITY
Photo provided by DRURY UNIVERSITY

Drury board member, former Walmart exec dies

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Jack Shewmaker, a nearly 30-year member of the Drury University Board of Trustees and former Walmart executive, died Nov. 17 after suffering a heart attack. He was 72.

Services for Shewmaker will be held today at noon in Rogers, Ark. at Fellowship Bible Church.

“Jack’s passing is a great loss for the nation, the region and for Drury University,” Drury President Todd Parnell said in a news release. “He has been an invaluable counselor for Drury and his sage wisdom will be missed."

Shewmaker was a Drury board member since 1984 and served on its executive committee, finance committee and development committee. He received an honorary doctorate from the university in 2000.

"Jack’s primary concern was always for students," Charles Taylor, dean of the college, said in the release.

Shewmaker retired from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in 1988 after serving as president and chief operating officer.

In an open letter, Mike Duke, Wal-Mart Stores president and CEO, wrote that Shewmaker joined the company in 1970 as a district manager.

"As many of you know, Jack Shewmaker had been with Walmart since its earliest days," Duke wrote. "He loved this company and gave it his heart as well as his considerable talents.

"He was a dear personal friend and, though the company will benefit from his contributions for years to come, it is hard to imagine Walmart without Jack."

Shewmaker also was a member of the Walmart board from 1977 to 2008, according to the letter.

Duke also noted Shewmaker's accomplishments during his time with the international department store chain.

"He was instrumental in developing our Every Day Low Pricing strategy, which defined our company and set new standards in the retail industry for providing customers with consistent, reliable value. He was also a strong advocate of Walmart’s pioneering development of technology," Duke wrote. "He led the company’s adoption of bar codes and the launch of its first satellite system in 1983, tying together Walmart’s stores, distribution centers and home office."

Shewmaker is survived by his wife, Melba, three children and 10 grandchildren, according to an obituary found at the Springfield News-Leader.

According to Duke's letter, Shewmaker's family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Jack C. Shewmaker Memorial, Jack Shewmaker Students In Free Enterprise World Headquarters, 1959 East Kerr St.; Northwest Arkansas Community College Foundation, 1 College Drive, Bentonville, Ark.; and Westark Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, 1401 Old Greenwood Road, Fort Smith, Ark.[[In-content Ad]]

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