If fortune is what you value, then it’s fair to say that Christy Ruth Walton married really really well. Her deceased husband John T. Walton, was one of the sons of Sam Walton, the founder of American supermarket chain Walmart.

And so in 2005 following the death of her husband in the event of a plane crash, Christy Walton inherited US$18.2 billion of his wealth.

For a long time Forbes ranked Walton as the 6th richest person in the United States. But then news came that she is worth $27 billion less than everyone thought. That’s quite a bit less; but she’s still worth a real fortune — in the region of $5 billion. That’s a handsome amount of money, lets make no mistake in that.

After her husband’s passing, people assumed that he gave most of his wealth to his wife. But a Bloomberg investigation went on to reveal that this was not the case. He actually - and nobly left half of his mega fortune to charity — and a third of it to Lukas Walton, his son. Christy Walton actually inherited around 17%.

She is still part of the richest family in the world, such is the scale of Walmart’s colossal wealth. And it’s not just Walmart that she has a stake in. Christy Walton also owns a stake in First Solar, who make solar panels — as you may have guessed.

Walmart came to fruition in 1982, and it’s now the world’s largest retailer.

Said to lead a private life away from the press and public as much as possibleWalton, was awarded by the Imagen Foundation for producing the film called Bless Me, Ultima —which is based on the book by Rudolfo Anaya, a master of ‘Chicano’ literature.

Walton — like all billionaires — is a keen philanthropist. She is ranked as the highest female philanthropist according to the percentage of her wealth that she gives, which is probably the best measure to see who has the biggest heart (or is that wallet?).

The billionaire is also a board member on such panels as San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego Zoological Society and the Mingei International Museum — and she makes handsome donations to them all. Who says money doesn’t buy power. Generally, it does.

The premise on which the Walmart empire was built, is given away by Christy’s late husband Sam, with great lines such as this: “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

No wonder the company went from being a small regional operator to becoming the biggest retailer in the world. Sometimes it takes some balls and can be a bit of a gamble, but that’s how success is born.

“Maybe I was born to be a merchant, maybe it was fate. I don't know about that. But I know this for sure: I loved retail from the very beginning.” Said Sam Walton. Well he certainly left enough to support him family after his death, and probably many generations after his departure.