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Wal-Mart Heir, Education Benefactor, Dies In Plane Crash

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[ Business]

John Walton, 58, crashed in an experimental homemade aircraft shortly after takeoff in Wyoming.

The crash happened shortly after Mr. Walton’s craft took off from Jackson Hole Airport, near Grand Teton National Park. Authorities do not yet know the cause of the crash and will investigate.

The aircraft, a small ultralight powered by a gasoline engine and equipped with heavy fabric wings, was an experimental design built by Mr. Walton.

“He loved to build things. He loved motorcycles. He built his own motorcycle,” said Walton’s former wife, Washington County Circuit Judge Mary Ann Gunn. “I certainly have nothing negative to say about the man at all. He was a prince.”

Mr. Walton, a long-time proponent of education vouchers and school choice, founded the Children’s Scholarship Fund in 1998 to provide low-income families with money to send their children to private schools.

After starting with $67 million from the Walton Family Foundation, the fund has helped more than 67,000 children. Over 23,000 use scholarships from the fund today, according to the fund’s web site.

Mr. Walton was an Army veteran who served with the Green Berets as a medic during the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Silver Star for saving the lives of several members of his unit while under enemy fire, according to Wal-Mart.

He is survived by his wife and son.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Wal-Mart Heir, Education Benefactor, Dies In Plane Crash
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