Bob Bogle, credited with proposing the name “Wal-Mart” for what is now retail giant Walmart Inc., died Thursday (March 24). He was 95.
Bogle was Sam Walton’s first manager at the Walton Five and Dime on the Bentonville square. He worked with the company for 28 years before retiring in 1982.
According to his obituary, Bogle enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 1945. After graduating from Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, he was assigned to the Company 1 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg.
He graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1949 and began his career in public health.
After earning a master’s in public health in 1951 from the University of North Carolina, Bogle and his wife Marilyn moved to Bentonville, where he worked as Benton County health inspector.
In 1955, Sam Walton recruited Bogle as the first store manager for the Walton Five and Dime in Bentonville.
According to the obituary, Bogle “loved working in the store, and you usually heard his cheerful whistling upon entering. He eventually moved to the general office where he would take on solving some of the challenges of the new company.”
Regarding Bogle’s suggestion of the “Wal-Mart” name, the obituary said: “Bob wrote this suggestion for Mr. Sam who glanced at it and put it in his pocket. Bob did not know if he would use the name until he saw the letters going up on the first store in Rogers [in 1962].”
Bogle’s military career with the Arkansas National Guard began on July 9, 1954. In June 1972, as a Lt. Col., he took command of the Battery A 1st Battalion 142nd Artillery. He remained in the Arkansas National Guard until his retirement in 1982 at the rank of Colonel.
The Bogles were dedicated financial supporters of the University of Arkansas and its academic and athletic programs. In May 2008, Bogle Park, the UA’s softball facility, was officially dedicated on the Fayetteville campus thanks to the Bogles’ support of the Razorback softball program. In 2015, the Bogles pledged $1 million to the UA’s Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences.
Bogle’s funeral service through Nelson-Berna Funeral Home of Rogers will be at 1 p.m. on March 30 at First Baptist Church in Bentonville.