Herman Warden "Ward" Lay, Jr. (October 13, 1945 to October 28, 2011)


It is with profound regret that we announce the death of Ward Lay. He left us on October 28, 2011.


Ward Lay of Dallas, Texas was born in Atlanta, Georgia on October 13, 1945 to Herman Warden Lay and Amelia "Mimi" Harper Lay. He peacefully left us on October 28, 2011. Ward spent most of his childhood in Atlanta, and the family moved to Dallas in 1962 where Ward's father merged his Lay Company with the Frito Company (and later into PepsiCo).


Ward attended Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana and Southern Methodist University. Ward worked with PepsiCo until 1970 when he left to begin a long career as an investor and entrepreneur in many different fields, both domestic and foreign. Initially focusing on Mexico, he was a co-founder of a major Mexican holding company with interests including Pepsi-Cola and 7-Up bottling operations, sugar refining, and mineral water distribution, and the Pepsi franchise was Pepsi's largest outside the United States until it was acquired by Pepsi in 2002.


Ward also traveled extensively in Argentina, and in 1998 bought a large ranch in Argentina's Lake District of Patagonia, which he converted from a sheep ranch to a guest ranch featuring a renovated century old ranch headquarters, fly fishing and hunting for red deer, boar, and puma. In 2003 he extended his interests in Argentina when he co-founded a winery, Andeluna Cellars in Mendoza, Argentina which today produces and sells internationally a wide variety of premium red and white wines.


Within the United States at the time of his death Ward was the chairman and chief executive officer of Lay Capital Group L.L.C., an investment management company which managed investments in real estate, broadcasting, oil and gas, agriculture, foods and beverages, hospitality, aviation, finance and internet technology. Ward was a co-founder of two airlines, Great Plains and Air Florida, and Rucker Construction Co., which completed many projects, including the Braniff Airways terminal at DFW. Ward also owned Cross Creek Ranch, a commercial beef cattle and feed crop operation in Blue Ridge, Texas.


Ward placed a high priority on education. He served as a director of Culver Military Academy, was a vice president and trustee of Culver's educational foundation, and was an honorary member of Culver's Cum Laude Society. He has been an associate director of the Graduate School of Business at SMU, and a life member of the U.S. Navy's Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He served as a board member for the Shelton School in Dallas and the Pankey Institute of the University of Miami. He served on Texas A&M's College of Agriculture's development council. Ward received an honorary degree at Northwood University in Dallas. He also served as a director and lecturer for the American Management Association's Operation Enterprise program in New York.


Ward loved Dallas where he lived most of his life, and was active in the community. He served as a director and member of the executive committee of the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association, and was chairman of the annual New Year's Day parade in 1990. He served as a member and as vice chairman of the Dallas Citizens/Police Review Board. He was a director and treasurer of the Southern Dallas Development Corporation, a board member of the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas (as well as chairing the Y's international committee), and chair of the host committee for the 1994 Dallas Gran Prix. He also served as chairman of the board of Baylor University Medical Center Foundation and as a member of the Board of Governors of the Dallas Symphony Association. Ward belonged to many other groups and organizations. He was a member of Brook Hollow Golf Club, Calyx Club, Dallas Assembly, Dallas County Republican Menís' Club, Dallas Friday Group, Dallas Gun Club, Dallas Petroleum Club, Dallas Safari Club, Society of International Business Fellows, Terpischorean Club, the 500 Inc., and Union League Club of Chicago.


Ward's accomplishments were many, and if those who knew him well were asked what was most important to him they would answer his family and his friends. He had many acquaintances, and also many close friends. He enjoyed so much a quiet dinner with a former Culver classmate, taking his children to Argentina, having his family and friends with him on holidays such as 4th of July at the Blue Ridge ranch, discussing politics with his Friday lunch buddies, and quietly helping friends through difficult times and in any other way. Ward's devotion to all these relationships was enduring, central to his being, and without limit.


Ward was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Linda and his eldest son, Herman Warden ("Wardie") Lay III. Ward is survived by his children Jesse Chapman Carter Lay and his wife Tina of Dallas and Malibu, California; Harper Whitney Lay and Lyndon Walker Lay, both of Dallas; and his grandchildren Edan Warden Lay and Carissa Tiare Lay; his sisters Susan Lay Atwell and her husband Anthony Atwell of Dallas and Dorothy Lay of Dallas; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.


The family has requested that memorials be made to Culver Education Foundation, 1300 Academy Road, Culver, Indiana 46511, or a charity of their choice.