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Aquarium Family Saddened by Jack Lupton's Passing

5/17/2010 1:19:36 PM

Aerial view of downtown Chattanooga

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                  Contact: Thom Benson 423-785-3007

Tennessee Aquarium Family Saddened by Jack Lupton’s Passing

Chattanooga, Tenn. (May 17, 2010) – There is an air of sadness at the Tennessee Aquarium today as we pause to remember the life of John T. “Jack” Lupton. Mr. Lupton’s vision, leadership and generosity helped usher in the “Renaissance on the River” in Chattanooga that began with building the Aquarium. “Jack always had the vision for the bigger picture,” said Charlie Arant, Aquarium president and CEO. “He believed that the Aquarium would be the economic engine that would lead to extensive downtown development.”

It is difficult to imagine what Chattanooga might be like today without the philanthropy of the Lupton family and Jack’s ability to encourage others to support community projects.

There was joy in Lupton’s heart when the Aquarium opened on May 2nd, 1992, when Ocean Journey opened in 2005 and when each new experience such as Penguins’ Rock was unveiled. Today there continues to be joy in the lives of others because of Lupton’s support. A living legacy shines within the smiles of each visitor that marvels at a leafy sea dragon, touches a sturgeon or feeds a stingray. “We will miss Jack greatly, but imagine how many lives Jack Lupton has touched through his generosity,” said Arant. “The community spirit he helped foster will be with us for generations.”

The Aquarium has been in Chattanooga long enough that the young parents, who once visited as schoolchildren, are now bringing their children to experience what Jack Lupton helped start.

On the Aquarium’s 10th Anniversary in 2002, Mr. Lupton penned an opinion piece for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. In it, he expressed exuberance for the Chattanooga spirit. “People ask if what we have today is what we envisioned back in 1992.  The answer is no.  It has gone beyond our wildest dreams,”  Lupton wrote.  “I believe it began to change the way people looked at progress in this town.  We began to believe in ourselves a little more, and we began to tackle projects that we might have been reluctant to try before.”

According to Arant, Lupton was always available and willing to help if called upon. However, he always preferred to give credit for Chattanooga’s success to others. In the 2002 opinion, Lupton gave praise to a few individuals such as Rick Montague, Stroud Watson, Bill Sudderth, Carey Hanlin and others. Lupton also wanted to acknowledge the citizens who joined him while he and others were dreaming big about the Tennessee Aquarium. “The credit – if that’s the right word – for all this progress goes to residents of Chattanooga. They are the ones who started dreaming back in the 1980s,” wrote Lupton. “…there was a spirit there, something waiting to bust loose. People were ready to make their town into something great. I think that spirit is still very much alive here, and it can carry us wherever we want to go.”

The entire Tennessee Aquarium staff, volunteers and board wish to express condolences to Alice Lupton and the entire Lupton family.  


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