CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - Jack Lupton, credited with using his fortune and influence to turn the Scenic City around, has died. John T. Lupton II, known as Jack, passed away Sunday night Channel 3 Eyewitness News has confirmed. Lupton was born in 1926 and had experienced poor health in recent years.

Lupton was the son of Cartter Lupton and the grandson of John T. Lupton Sr. who was Coca-Cola Bottling's wealthiest owner since it began in 1899. In the 20th century, no family owned more Coke bottling assets than the Luptons.

Jack Lupton was known for his visionary leadership of Chattanooga and his generous donations to help the city prosper.

Heritage Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. A service will be held at Church of the Good Shepherd Episcopal on Lookout Mountain Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. A private reception and burial will follow.

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield tells Channel 3, "I'm saddened to hear of the passing of Jack Lupton.  He's someone who's been so influential and a person whose contributions to the city are unmatched.  It's a sad day."

Former Chattanooga Mayor and U. S. Senator Bob Corker said, "Jack Lupton was a giant of a man. When most had given up on Chattanooga, he saw the great potential that existed in the community he loved and rallied us around his dream for the city we enjoy today.  Not only was he enormously generous, he was willing to risk his reputation on civic endeavors like the Aquarium and was an inspiration to us all.  He was both a mentor and a friend to me and I will miss him greatly."

As the news spread, people around Chattanooga began to leave their condolences at
Angie Williams Daly of Chattanooga writes, "So sad. He will be greatly missed but you know that he is in Heaven helping God make it even better for the rest of us!"
Don Johnson of Cleveland, TN wrote, "Chattanooga and really the entire area has lost a stellar visionary to what this area can become with hard work and ceaseless dedication to the community he loved."

The book Old Money New South: The Spirit of Chattanooga included this excerpt about Lupton:

Lupton sold the world's largest Coca-Cola bottling company for $1.4 billion in 1986. He was "more of a symbol than a real person," wrote Chattanooga Times publisher Paul Neeely in perhaps, the only article ever published that attempts to assess the man. "I love Chattanooga. I desperately love Chattanooga," Lupton said in one of the few articles quoting him. He backed it up with a $25 million gift to the local university. Before that he raised nearly $50 million for an aquarium that is generally credited for reviving the city's prospects. His family has given hundreds of millions more to charities over the years.

The Lupton family is behind the Lyndhurst Foundation which had its beginnings in the broad local and regional philanthropic activities of Thomas Cartter Lupton, a pioneer in the Coca-Cola bottling business. First organized in 1938 as the Memorial Welfare Foundation, these activities continued and expanded after Cartter Lupton's death in 1977, when the foundation changed its name to Lyndhurst, a reference to the family home in Chattanooga. At that time the foundation leadership passed into the hands of Mr. Lupton's son, John T. "Jack" Lupton, and Lyndhurst began to focus its attention upon primary health care, elementary and secondary education, and arts and cultural activities.

In the mid-1980s, the foundation redirected its energies almost entirely toward Chattanooga's effort to revitalize its downtown and riverfront, to enhance its arts and cultural life, and to improve its schools and its natural environment.

In 1992, with the retirement of Mr. Jack Lupton from the board of the foundation and the election of his children and his nephews as trustees, Lyndhurst once again set new priorities, centered on the enhancement and enrichment of the natural, educational, cultural and urban environment of Chattanooga and the surrounding region.