CHICAGO, May 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- LeRoy (Roy) T. Carlson founder and Chairman Emeritus of Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. [NYSE: TDS](TDS), passed away, on Monday, May 23. Roy was 100 years old.
"While TDS has lost its founder and longtime chairman, and a remarkable man, Roy's legacy will live on for many years to come," said LeRoy T. Carlson Jr., TDS president and CEO. "Roy's vision, leadership, values and business principles set the foundation for TDS becoming a leading telecommunications company. At TDS, we will honor Roy's memory by continuing to dedicate ourselves to serving the customer with excellence and building the Company he loved so much."
"Roy was a visionary and an inspiration to those who knew him personally and professionally," said Walter Carlson, TDS chairman. "Roy was always looking forward and saw new opportunity in every situation. He understood and appreciated the great potential in telecommunications and its ability to improve the lives of all people."
Roy founded TDS in 1969 at the age of 52. Already an accomplished executive and entrepreneur, Roy devoted TDS to serving the nation's rural and suburban communities. Under his leadership, TDS grew from a small number of rural telephone companies in southern Wisconsin into a national telecommunications provider with revenues of $5 billion in 2015. As TDS' Chairman, Roy was involved from the beginning in the establishment and development of U.S. Cellular.
Roy was born on May 15, 1916 in Chicago. He earned his BA from the University of Chicago and his MBA from Harvard in 1941. He served with distinction in World War II.
His entrepreneurial skills were apparent throughout his life. After World War II, he served in various managerial positions and ventures in real estate and other businesses, eventually purchasing Suttle Equipment Company—through which he became active in the telephone industry.
Among his many contributions, Roy believed strongly in the value of education. He championed a robust program to support the continuing education of employees and associates who take college and graduate level courses. He also established, along with his wife, several professorships at colleges and universities and the Margaret D. and LeRoy T. Carlson Fellowship at Harvard Business School.
Roy's accomplishments over a lifetime of service to TDS and the telecommunications industry earned him numerous accolades and awards. These include: "Chicago Business Hall of Fame Award;" "Wireless History Foundation's Hall of Fame Award;" the "Independent Telecommunications Pioneer Association (ITPA) Hall of Fame Award" and the "Wisconsin State Telecommunications Association (WSTA) Lifetime Achievement Award."
Roy is survived by his wife Margaret, and children LeRoy Jr. (Ted), Letitia, Prudence, and Walter, his sister Florence Wertz, ten grandchildren and many nieces, nephews and extended family members.
Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. (TDS), a Fortune 1000™ company, provides wireless; cable and wireline broadband, TV and voice; and hosted and managed services to approximately 6 million customers nationwide through its businesses, U.S. Cellular, TDS Telecom, OneNeck IT Solutions, and BendBroadband. Founded in 1969 and headquartered in Chicago, TDS employed 10,600 people as of March 31, 2016.
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SOURCE Telephone and Data Systems