Last Updated: January 8, 2024
Richest BusinessRichest Billionaires
Net Worth:
$18 Billion
Nov 10, 1961 - Jun 27, 2005 (43 years old)
💰 Compare John Walton's Net Worth

What was John T. Walton's net worth?

John Walton was an American veteran and billionaire who had a net worth of $18 billion at the time of his death. John T. Walton inherited his fortune as the second son of Walmart founder Sam Walton. He was also the first investor in what became First Solar, the publicly traded solar energy company. Through his Walmart and First Solar shares, John's estate collected around $14 billion in the two decades after his death. He was a major donor to causes that helped underprivileged kids to attend private schools and various other educational charities.

Tragically, John Walton died on June 27, 2005, in a plane crash. At the time of his death John directly owned roughly 12 million shares of Walmart. Through family trusts, he also shared ownership in roughly 1.7 billion additional shares. A large portion of John's estate was left to charity and the remaining was left to his widow, Christy Walton. Lukas was 19 years old at the time. In 2015, unsealed court documents showed that, by this point, Lukas had inherited his father's full estate. Today he owns roughly 3.8% of Walmart. He has also earned $5 billion from dividends and share sales since 2005. His mother owns roughly 2% of Walmart.

Military Career

John Thomas Walton was born in Newport, Arkansas, on October 18, 1946. His father Sam Walton founded Walmart in July 1962 when John was 14. His other siblings are Rob Walton, Jim Walton and Alice Walton.

He was a star football player at Bentonville High School before enrolling at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.

In 1968 John dropped out of college and enlisted in the United States Army to do his duty during the Vietnam War. During the war, he served as a Green Beret and saw active combat in both Vietnam and Laos. He eventually received a Silver Star for bravery in combat.


After the war, John earned his pilot's license so he could work as a pilot for the now-thriving Walmart corporation. He eventually left to work as a crop dusting pilot. Around this time he founded his first company, Satloc, an aerial application company that was one of the first to use GPS technology in crop dusting.

Next, he moved to San Diego, CA, where he founded a sailboat-building company.

In 1992 he joined the Board of Wal-Mart.

In 1996 John and a business associate named Michael Ahearn co-founded a venture capital firm called True North Partners. True North was eventually renamed JWMA (John Walton Michael Ahearn). In 1999, with True North/JWMA as a seed investor, Michael Ahearn founded First Solar. First Solar went public in 2006 and today has a market cap north of $15 billion.

In 1998 he and Teddy Forstmann founded a charity called the Children's Scholarship Fund, which helped underprivileged kids attend private schools. The charity was launched with $67 million from the Walmart Family Foundation and has gone on to benefit hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of children.

An enthusiastic outdoorsman and pilot, John owned property in Wyoming and Colorado, where he enjoyed hiking, biking, sky-diving, and skiing.

Personal Life, Death & Estate

At one point John was married to a woman named Mary Ann Gunn, but at the time of his death, he was married to Christy Walton, née Tallant. Their only child, son Lukas, was born in September 1986.

On June 27, 2005, John died when his homemade, experimental CGS Hawk Arrow ultralight plane crashed in Jackson, Wyoming. The plane crashed shortly after taking off. John was 58 years old at the time of his death. At the time of his death, John's net worth was $18 billion. That made him the fourth-richest person in America. If he was still alive today, he would likely be worth between $50 and $70 billion.

As we stated previously, roughly half of his estate was left to charity in trust. The remainder was left first to his widow Christy, then eventually to his son Lukas. Today Christy owns around 2% of Walmart and Lukas owns around 3.8%.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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