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ANKENY, Iowa -- The chairman of the board and former CEO of Casey's General Stores Inc., Ronald M. Lamb, passed away Friday, June 11, 2010, at the age of 74, following battle with cancer.
"Ron's exceptional character and integrity influenced the lives of many people," Robert Myers, president and CEO of Casey's, said in a statement. "His tireless work ethic and strong leadership style are embedded into the culture of our company."
Lamb dedicated nearly forty years at the company, serving in various positions ranging from store manager to chairman, the company stated. Through his determination and insight, Casey's became one of the leading convenience store chains in the nation, according to the company.
Casey's officials said in a Des Moines Register report that Lamb's illness for much of the past year kept him out of the boardroom, as Casey's attempted to thwart a hostile takeover attempt by Alimentation Couche-Tard. Lamb remained active in board meetings, though, via telephone.
Bill Walljasper, Casey's chief financial officer, told the paper the company was not yet certain who will take over the chairman's role. Board meetings will continue to be run by Myers.
Jeff Lamberti, a Casey's board member and son of company founder Donald Lamberti, praised Lamb's skill with the details of running convenience stores, the report stated.
He said Lamb left a "pretty good job in the grocery business" to go to work for Casey's founder. He was one of the first four managers of a Casey's store, and rapidly ascended to become a key executive, and replaced Donald Lamberti as president and chief executive in 1998 when Lamberti retired, according to the report.
Darryl Bacon, vice president of foodservice for Casey's, described Lamb as a kind soul with a common touch. "The guy was just so big-hearted and down to earth," Bacon said in the report. "If you had a great work ethic, Ron believed in you. He gave you every chance."
Bacon also noted Lamb's golf skills.
"He'd say, 'You know that water's pretty deep. I don't know if you can get over that water today.' And of course you'd hit it in the water," he said.
Lamb's funeral was scheduled to be held Monday at 10 a.m., at St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines. Burial will be in his hometown, Mount Ayr, according to a report by the Des Moines Register.
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