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Former Chairman of Augusta National dies

Jackson T. "Jack'' Stephens, a financier and philanthropist who served as chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club for nine years, died Saturday at age 81.

Stephens Inc. spokesman Frank Thomas said Stephens died Saturday after suffering from declining health for some time. Stephens had a mild stroke in 1998, and Thomas said Stephens had been hospitalized for about a month before going home Thursday.

Stephens in 1962 became a member of the Augusta National Golf Club -- which hosts the annual Masters tournament -- and served as its fourth chairman, from 1991-1998.

"Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters tournament have lost a wonderful individual and an outstanding past chairman and personally I have lost a dear friend,'' said current Augusta Chairman Hootie Johnson, who succeeded Stephens. "Under Jack's leadership, the Masters continued to grow and his integrity helped maintain its success. On behalf of the club's membership, I want to express our deepest sympathy to Jack's family.''

Stephens, along with his brother W.R. "Witt'' Stephens, was one of Arkansas' richest and most powerful individuals. Witt Stephens started Little Rock-based Stephens Inc. in 1933 and Jack, who joined the firm in 1946, built it to its peak, making it the largest brokerage house with headquarters off Wall Street.


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