SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - We know San Diego as America’s Finest City but last week, we lost one of our finest. You may not know the name Shon Boney but you probably have shopped in his grocery stores, Sprouts Farmers Market. We have come to learn that Shon Boney was more than just a savvy businessman. He was a kind, generous soul, who lived life to the fullest and always put others first.
“He was really an incredible man,” says Shon's sister Missy Benker.
That’s what most little sisters would say about their big brothers. But Shon Boney truly was a remarkable man. A born leader destined to inspire.
“He put his all into everything, whether that was playing baseball to being CEO of the year,” adds Missy.
In 2002 Shon Boney and his father Stan took the family grocery store chain and formed what we know today as Sprouts. By 2013, as CEO, Shon took the company public. There are now 350 Sprouts nationwide employing over 35,000 people.
“They created something that’s pretty darn spectacular and changed the lives of so many people in great ways,” says Missy.
It doesn't take much research to discover Shon Boney always head that leadership mentality, and an ability to learn quickly.
"He took copious notes in school,” adds his father Stan Boney
Shon's mind was always active. He was like a sponge learning all areas of the family business and joined his father's love for flying. By the age of 16, he got his pilot's license and earned various ratings. Even that was a source of inspiration. Years later Shon would use his own private jet to fly veterans and those with disabilities, at no cost, to and from the care they needed. Not once did he ask for recognition.
“He was just a giving person," adds Stan. "And didn’t need recognition for it. It’s just kind of what you do.”
“He was passionate about helping people," says Missy. "If he ever learned about anyone in need, he was always one of the first ones there to help and trying to find a way to help."
Bryce Olson was one of those individuals who benefited from Shon Boney’s generosity.
“Without that very kind generosity, I wouldn’t be here today,” says Olson.
Olson has prostate cancer. He lives in Oregon but receives treatment here in San Diego. When the pandemic hit last March, he decided it was just too dangerous to travel with COVID-19 and his compromised immunity. We shared his dilemma in an ABC 10News story. Boney, who was battling brain cancer at the time, saw that story.
“He saw that and reached out to me," adds Olson. "And I tell you that he really saved me from myself.”
Olson was flown back and forth from Portland to San Diego courtesy of Shon Boney. The two bonded, discussed scientific research, and how their own novel treatments of their cancers might one day benefit others.
“He wanted to push the envelope. He wanted to connect with the best in science and technology and try to advance this disease. And, I think so many people are going to miss him.”
On March 8th Shon Boney died after a long, hard-fought battle with glioblastoma. No one will miss him more than his family. He was a husband, a father, a brother, a son, and a friend to so many. Even complete strangers.
“That’s the kind of person he was," says Missy. "It was always about others. And he would always put others first before himself.”
In lieu of flowers, the Boney family is asking those who wish to honor Shon Boney to consider donating to one of his favorite charities. Challenge Center, Veterans Airlift Command, or Angel Flight West.