Funeral arrangements announced for East Texas icon "Bo" Pilgrim

PITTSBURG, Texas (KETK) - Funeral arrangements have been made for legendary East Texas businessman "Bo" Pilgrim.

Visitation is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the First Baptist Church of Pittsburg. The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the church as well. 

Family members tell KETK Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim died Friday. He was 89. Bo and his brother, Aubrey, began what is today known as Pilgrim's Pride in 1946. Aubrey, Bo and Pat Johns purchased a feed and seed store for $3,500 in Pittsburg.

In the early days, the Pilgrims would sell 100 baby chicks and a sack of feed to local farmers who would take the chicks home and raise them in their back yards, keeping some for family needs and bringing back the remainder when they were grown. Selling baby chicks to drive feed sales was one of several innovative ideas that would later lead to the "vertical integration" model of poultry production used by nearly every major poultry company today.

Bo was also very giving to the local community. Generous donations resulted in the naming of the Patty and Bo Pilgrim Chapel at Dallas Baptist University, the Patty and Bo Pilgrim Cancer Center at Texas Oncology in Mount Pleasant and the Witness Park and Prayer Tower in Pittsburg.

Memorial services for Bo are pending.

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