NEW YORK--James Lawrence (Bud) Walton, a co-founder of Wal-Mart Stores with his brother Sam, died Tuesday morning in Miami, where he was on a fishing trip. The cause of death was an abdominal aortic aneurysm, according to a Wal-Mart statement. Walton, 73, was a senior vice president and a director, but was not active in the day-to-day operations of the discounter. He also was a member of the board's executive committee. Walton was the co-owner of the first Wal-Mart store in Rogers, Ark., which he helped open in 1962 with his older brother, Sam. The brothers began their retail partnership in 1945 when Bud returned from World War II and helped Sam operate a Ben Franklin store in Newport, Ark. By 1962, they owned and operated 16 Ben Franklin stores in Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas. Bud Walton also played a significant role in Wal-Mart's growth from 276 stores in the 1970s to the current 2,140 units. The retailer named its outlet format, "Bud's Warehouse Outlets," in his honor. Survivors include two daughters and three grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending, the company said.
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