One of a Kind (EDITORS NOTE)

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 66 views 

The first time I met Don Soderquist, I liked him.

It was hard not to. There was just something about the man that I instinctively liked.

Hyperbole aside, let me tell you why. There was a buzz that accompanied Soderquist when he walked into the room, and in the days following his death, I heard that same recollection from several of his colleagues.

We met for the first time in 2011, just prior to the luncheon the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal holds each year to recognize our Forty Under 40 class.

Soderquist was there in support of our event, but also in support of his friend and former Wal-Mart Stores Inc. colleague, David Glass, the owner of the Kansas City Royals who was the luncheon’s keynote speaker.

Soderquist introduced Glass onstage, and it quickly made sense to me why I instantly liked him.

Like me, Don Soderquist was a big fan of the Chicago Cubs. He and Glass even drew several laughs that day for their banter centered on Glass’ Royals and Soderquist’s Cubs, and Soderquist later presented Glass with several items of Cubs merchandise on the stage.

Glass graciously accepted and then joked, “Was it marked down?”

Laughter all around. That was Don Soderquist.

There’s not another one like him out there. He was one of a kind, and the void we have now from the impact he was making isn’t going to be filled by one person.

It’s really up to all of us.

“We’ve got figure out and understand what it meant to have someone like Don pour into us and be willing to make that level of investment in someone else,” Chuck Hyde told me. Hyde is CEO of Soderquist Leadership in Siloam Springs, one of Soderquist’s many enduring legacies. “He’s not here to do it, but I would hope we are equipped to carry that forward. When we think about his life and his legacy, that is what we can pay forward.”