Lester Crain Awarded Top Honor
Distinguished Eagle Scout Award was established in 1969 to acknowledge
Eagle Scouts who have received extraordinary national-level recognition,
fame, or eminence within their field, and have a strong record of
voluntary service to their community. Only Eagle Scouts who earned the
Eagle Scout rank a minimum of 25 years previously are eligible for
nomination. The award is given by the National Eagle Scout Association
upon the recommendation of a committee of Distinguished Eagle Scouts.
Lester Crain, Jr. was recently surprised with the presentation of the
Distinguished Eagle Award at a gathering of family and friends. A native
Memphian, he has contributed significantly to the life of this
community through his distinguished and influential career as an
entrepreneur and private investor.
a member of Troop 34, he was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. He
received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Rhodes College,
earned a full scholastic scholarship to Harvard Law School and completed
his Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law where he was President of Omnicron
Delta Kappa, National Honor Society, and credits Harvard Law for
teaching him how to think. In recognition of his contributions to the
business community and civic community he was awarded the Outstanding
Alumnus award from Rhodes College.Upon
graduating from Harvard Law School he joined the United States Navy
where he served with distinction as a Naval Aviator. During the Korean
conflict he flew the F2H3N Banshee Jet Fighter in the Western Pacific
Theater and made 106 aircraft landings.
After completing his
service in the United States Navy, Mr. Crain returned to his hometown of
Memphis and began the practice of law where he was a partner in a local
law firm and active in local, state and national bar associations. He
left the private practice of law to become the chief legal officer for
what was known as Malone & Hyde, Inc. which became the third largest
wholesale food distributor in the United States. He served as the
company’s general counsel and corporate secretary. His executive
leadership was recognized when he was named chairman of the National
Wholesale Grocers Association. Other companies created under Mr.
Crain’s guidance included Super D drugstores, Quality Stamps, a sporting
goods operation, and a series of auto parts stores originally called
Auto Shack but later changed their name to AutoZone which is the
nation’s leading retailer and a leading distributor of automotive
replacement parts and accessories with more than 4,200 stores in the
U.S., Puerto Rico and Mexico.
Crain has been quoted as saying he believed that if you were willing to
study hard, learn as much as possible, then put that knowledge to use
in an ethical manner, that a person could make a difference in their
community. He is credited with outlining the direction for many
organizations and helped them establish funding, including the Dixon
Gallery & Gardens, Greater Memphis Arts Council, Memphis Brooks
Museum of Art, Memphis Inter Faith Association, St. John’s Episcopal
Church and the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association. He has contributed
of his many talents, time and treasures to ensure opportunities are
available for young people, young business people and the unfortunate.
is with much admiration that the Chickasaw Council, Boy Scouts of
America, salutes Mr. J. Lester Crain, Jr., Eagle Scout from Troop 34,
and now a Distinguished Eagle Scout. This honor is
only given to a few Eagle Scouts from across the United States each year
and we are proud to say one of our own has received it.
Past recipients of the Distinguished Eagle
Scout award from the Chickasaw Council are: Robert E. Cannon, Eugene K.
Cashman, Jr., Dr. James H. Daughdrill, Jr., Jackson W. Moore, S.
Shepherd Tate, Richard A. Trippeer, Jr., David G. Williams, The Right
Reverend James Malone Coleman, Major General James Harvey Lipscomb, III,
and A. Jan Thomas, Jr.