Jeff Wyatt

Jeff Wyatt

Class of 1999

Jeff was born July 5, 1934, in Hopkinsville, KY. After graduating from East Nashville High School, he attended classes at the University of Tennessee and started 20 years of service in the U.S. military reserve and National Guard units, retiring as a second lieutenant. In September 1955, Jeff married Carolyn in Nashville, TN. The couple raised two children, Gary and Connie.

Jeff began his candy business career in 1956, joining Beech-Nut/LifeSavers as a salesperson, later serving as division sales manager. In June of 1959, he became director of sales/convenience stores at LifeSavers. From 1964 through 1974, he was sales manager for both Hunt Wesson Foods and Purex Corp. He returned to LifeSavers in 1974 as director for national accounts, but left the company in 1990 to join Borden Candy as national sales manager. In 1993, he joined Gilliam Candy Brands as vice-president of sales for national accounts. At the time of his induction, he was Gilliam’s vice-president of sales for special accounts.

At his induction he said: Look after your people. Have a genuine concern for your company and your customer’s business. When something goes wrong, care enough to do something about it.

His philosophy might have aided him during his life’s most memorable moment, when an aircraft he was on was hijacked to Cuba. Wyatt was later credited with stopping a fellow passenger from starting a gunfight with the hijackers and nobody was hurt.

Jeff died at the age of 75 on April 30, 2010.