PITTSBURG, Texas (AP) — Lonnie “Bo” Pilgrim, who grew a one-time feed store into the world’s largest poultry producer before losing the company in bankruptcy, has died at 89.
A statement on the Erman Smith Funeral Home website says Pilgrim died Friday at his Pittsburg home.
Pilgrim was known for appearing on Pilgrim’s Pride commercials in a pilgrim’s hat and handing out on the Texas Senate floor $10,000 checks with blank payee lines in 1989.
Aubrey Pilgrim and a partner bought a Pittsburg feed store in 1946, and Pilgrim asked brother Bo to join the partnership. Spiking feed prices, strained finances and a poultry glut forced the company into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009. Pilgrim was replaced as CEO and a majority stake in the company was sold to JBS USA.