Profile of an Entrepreneur

Topics: Wal-Mart, Retailing, Sam Walton Pages: 6 (2568 words) Published: October 12, 2008
Early Years

Samuel Moore Walton was born on March 29, 1918 to Thomas Gibson and Nancy Lee Walton near Kingfisher, Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, he lived and worked on his family’s farm. He grew up during the depression and knew the meaning of hard work and dedication. He started selling magazine subscriptions by the age of only eight years old to help with money because it was lacking on the farm making it hard to feed their family. The Walton's decided that the farm was not profitable enough to raise a family on. So, Sam and his family decided they would go back to being a Farm Loan Appraiser. Once this job started the Walton family moved out of Oklahoma and moved from town to town in Missouri. This would shake up most children but for the Walton boys, it was no big deal (Wikipedia Encyclopedia 1). As Sam Walton grew up he was always a determined child. He attended Hickman High School in Columbia where he played football. He was the starting quarterback for the football team and led them to the state title in 1935. Sam wasn't the smartest kid at school but with hard work and lots of studying he became an honors student (Fitzgerald 1). This is just the beginning to his go get it all attitude. Along with being athletic and smart he was also a political figure at school. He served as Vice- President of his Junior Class and President of the Student Body his senior year. He was known then as a good leader. When he graduated from high school he was voted the "Most Versatile Boy" in his class (Wikipedia Encyclopedia 1). Along with all this he also had to help support his family because money was lacking due to the depression. Sam's job was to milk the family cow, bottle the milk, and then deliver the surplus of it customers and then went off to deliver newspapers afterwards as a part-time job by the age of twelve. During this time it would have been easy for Sam to just give up on school and go to work full time so he could further help his family during the depression. He knew how his family was struggling to make ends meet, so he decided he was going to stay in school and attend the University of Missouri (Wikipedia Encyclopedia). Adult Years

Sam majored in Economics at the University of Missouri. He had to work extra hard to pay for the college since money was tight. Sam waited tables in exchange for meals so he could eat; life guarded at the university’s pool, and also delivered newspapers. When he was not studying or working he was either at his fraternity in which he was an officer, or at a student government meeting because he was a member of the student senate, or satisfying his duties as an ROTC Officer. On Sundays he was President of a Sunday School Class where many of his fellow classmates attended and worshipped together. Sam Walton was also in the National Honor Society. When Sam Walton graduated in 1940 he was voted the permanent President of his class (Fitzgerald 2). Sam did not wait long after graduation to find work. Just three days after he received his diploma he entered the retail world working at JcPenney's in Des Moines, Iowa as a management trainee earning a salary of $75.00 a month (Bickford 2). He learned a great deal when working at JcPenney’s and received much experience. In 1942 Walton resigned from JcPenney’s to wait to be inducted into the military services for World War II. In the mean time, Sam took a job in a Du Pont munitions plant near Tulsa, Oklahoma. This was lucky for him because while doing this he meet his future wife, Helen Robson in April of 1942. Sam and Helen married on February 14, 1943. In 1944, their first son, Samuel Robson (Rob), was born, John Thomas was born in 1946, James Carr (Jim), born in 1948, and Alice born in 1949 (Fitzgerald 2). Soon after they were married in 1942, Sam went to serve in the US Army intelligence corps in the continental United States, supervising security at prisoner of war camps and aircraft plants. He left his mark here too; by the time Sam was...

References: (Fitzgerald 4Bickford, Jim. American Dreams (2002) An American Original.
Sanford, Ruth. Sam Walton (2002)
The Wal-Mart Story:
Wikipedia Enclopedia. Sam Walton:
Fitzgerald, Kelly: “The Model Manager of Wal-Mart”
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