Johnnie Bryan Hunt
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Johnnie Bryan Hunt, Sr. (February 28, 1927 – December 7, 2006), better known as J. B. Hunt, was an American entrepreneur who founded J.B. Hunt Transport Services, the largest publicly owned trucking company in the US. His company is based in Lowell, Arkansas.
His first job was working for his uncle in his sawmill so that the family could survive. After a brief time in the US Army, Hunt spent the 1950s as a lumber salesman, auctioneer, and truck driver before starting a rice hulls business with his wife Johnelle in 1961. Unfortunately his first attempt at the trucking business was not a success. He lost roughly $19,000. He returned to the trucking industry in 1969, with five tractors and seven trailers.
Hunt was known throughout his life for his generosity, and was famous for carrying around a money clip containing $100 bills, which he would hand out to people he felt could use the money.
Hunt began to remove himself from the company when he stepped down as president in 1982, but was still a main fixture within the company and remained chairman of the board until 1995. On December 31, 2004, Hunt retired from the company that he founded over 37 years earlier, but remained its largest shareholder.
Hunt died on December 7th, 2006 after sustaining a head injury during a fall on ice December 2nd, 2006. He had been in critical condition for several days at a hospital in Springdale, Arkansas.
In 2005, Springdale Public Schools opened a new elementary school named after J.B. Hunt. The Hunt family donated the land for the school, valued at over $500,000. This K-5 elementary school is located on Silent Grove Road in Springdale, Arkansas. Hunt was a frequent visitor to the school after it opened. The kids loved when J.B. came to school wearing his big cowboy hat and took time to read them a story or three.
- Smith, J., "In Memoriam, J.B. Hunt", World Trade Magazine, February 2007, p. 62