Clarence E. Burggraf, co-founder and former owner of Burggraf Tire Co. in Quapaw, died Feb. 21. He was 74.
Mr. Burggraf had sold Burggraf Tire to Joe Karnes in the late 1990s, but he remained on the board of directors, the company said.
Mr. Burggraf's father, Edward, started the tire company's precursor in the 1930s, a small business selling gas, ice and coal. Recapped tires were added later.
Mr. Burggraf joined the business in 1951 at age 20 and saw the growing market for selling new tires to area tire shops as well as the recaps. The current business was founded in 1963 by Mr. Burggraf and his father.
Vice President Ron Thrasher said the company under Mr. Burggraf grew to a network of some 30 retail stores in addition to five distribution centers. The retail end was trimmed back following a family feud and tough economic times in the 1980s, according to the company. Burggraf Tire now operates three retail outlets and is primarily a wholesale distributor with two warehouses in Texas and Oklahoma serving six states, Mr. Thrasher said.
Mr. Burggraf is survived by his wife of 56 years Shirley; son Gus; daughters Clarissa Bissinger and Kim Taconis; a brother and two sisters; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.