Originally created 04/08/01

Thomas Hennesy



NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Mr. Thomas J. Hennesy, 71, the world's largest Leprechaun and former Tractor Supply Co. CEO, died April 6, 2001, at his residence in Brentwood, Tenn. Tom was a native Charlestonian whose parents were Caroline Haskell Pickney (Sister Mary St. Pius) and Thomas J. Hennesy Sr. Tom, who had recently turned 71, served as chairman and chief executive officer of Tractor Supply Co. based in Nashville, Tenn. from 1983 until his retirement in 1994. After attending the College of Charleston, Tom began his business career in 1974 in the broadcasting industry for WJBF radio in Augusta, Ga., which was owned by J.B. Fuqua. After serving in the military for two years, he returned to Fuqua in 1953 and was subsequently elected executive vice president, mergers and acquisitions. He served in several senior positions for various Fuqua subsidiaries before leaving to run his own business in 1968. From 1969 to 1974, Hennesy served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Daisy Corporation, a Georgia based wholesale bakery and collection service industry. In 1974, he rejoined a much more diversified Fuqua Industries, Inc. and served as president of Half-Gaines Co. (Inverray), president of Arizona City and President of Islander Yacht before being appointed president of Tractor Supply Co. In 1981, Hennesy, along with four partners, purchased Tractor Supply Co. from Fuqua Industries in 1982 in a classic leveraged buyout. Stressing ethics, honesty, human kindness and a good sense of humor as essential leadership components, Hennesy guided a struggling farm and ranch store chain through an evolutionary development into a strong and growing industry leader. When Tom retired in 1994, he said "The years at Tractor Supply Company were unquestionably the best years of my life." Through his career, Tom was an avid supporter of the National FFA Foundation Sponsors Board. In 1993, he was awarded the FFA VIP Citation, the highest honor bestowed upon a supporter. Tom is survived by his wife, Cheryl Dant Hennesy; his children, Tom Smith, Edmond, Okla., Mike Hennesy, Mt. Juliet, Tenn., Kathy Glass, Spartanburg, SC, Carol Hennesy, Spartanburg, SC, Natalie Giffe, Franklin, Tenn., Tommy Hennesy, Winchester, VA, and Ginger Davis, Augusta, Ga. He is also survived by nine grandchildren. Funeral services will be held Monday, April 9, 2001, at 10:30 a.m. from the Harpeth Hills Chapel with Pastor Don Tabor officiating. The family will receive friends Sunday, April 8 from 2 to 7 p.m. at Harpeth Hills Funeral Home. Entombment will follow the funeral servicce in Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens. Pallbearers are Tom Smith, Mike Hennesy, Tommy Hennesy, Mal Giffe, Ricky Watson and Andy Yant. Honorary pallbearer is J.B. Fuqua. Harpeth Hills Funeral Home, 9090 Highway 100, Nashville, Tenn., 37221. The Augusta Chronicle