PENSACOLA, Fla. — Barney Burks Jr., a co-founder of Big Ten Tires in Pensacola, died Dec. 20. He was 87.
In his early years, Mr. Burks became a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, earning the Korean Service Medal with two Bronze Stars, United Nations Service Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, and National Defense Service Medal.
He was honorably discharged after successfully completing 100 missions.
In 1956, Mr. Burks founded Big Ten Tires with his brothers Woody and Doug in Pensacola. He sold the business in 1981.
He was then elected mayor of Pensacola for two consecutive terms from 1973-1977. After his terms, he pursued a career in banking and financial brokerage.
"I knew of my friend Barney as a uniquely gifted talent in the tire store operations business," said Ray Buchmann, former president of the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association, the precursor to the Tire Industry Association.
"I considered Barney a great mentor. I remember him and his brother Woody coaching my father and I in all phases of the tire store retailing industry and continued even after my father's death," he said.
"Our retread plant grew to the third largest daily production of passenger and light truck retreads in the U.S., and I owe this success to Barney and the Burks' family friendship and support."
Mr. Burks is survived by his wife Peggy Sue; sons Barney B. Burks III (Barbara), Greg Vannoy (Alex) and Todd Vannoy (Ashley); daughters Monique Rogers (Buddy) and Renee Lord (Simon); brothers Bob and Johnny; sister Geraldine Cottman; 12 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren.