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Helen Walton, widow of Sam Walton, dies

Bentonville , Ark. -- Helen Robson Walton, widow of Wal-Mart Stores founder Sam Walton, died last evening in her Bentonville home of natural causes. Surrounded by family at the time of her death, she was 87.

A public memorial service will be held at the 1st Presbyterian Church in Bentonville on Monday, April 23 at 1:30 p.m. The service will be officiated by the Reverend Arthur Fogartie.In lieu of flowers or cards, the Walton family requests that anyone wishing to offer a memorial in Helen Walton’s honor to do so by making a contribution to one of the following organizations that were important to Mrs. Walton during her life:Bentonville First Presbyterian Church
901 Northeast J Street
Bentonville, AR  72712   Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center
1701 NE Wildcat Way
Bentonville, AR  72712   University of the Ozarks
Attn:  Rick Niece
415 N. College Ave.
Clarksville, AR   72830“We are so proud of our mother and the life she led,” said Rob Walton, eldest son of Sam and Helen Walton and chairman of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “She devoted much of her life to helping others, and to improving the quality of life in northwest Arkansas. Today, my brother and sister, and the entire Walton and Robson families mourn my mother’s death.  But we also celebrate her extraordinary life.”

Helen Robson and Sam Walton were married on Valentine’s Day in 1943 in Claremore , Okla. In 1945, the couple opened their first retail store together, a Ben Franklin “five and dime” in Newport , Ark.

They moved to Bentonville five years later, and in 1962 the Waltons opened their first Wal-Mart store, in Rogers , Ark. Until his death in 1992, Sam considered Helen as one of his best business advisors, and he credited her for the original idea for the Wal-Mart profit-sharing plan, which gives all associates an opportunity to share in the profits of the company.

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