Remembering the Late Barney Burks Jr. – Founder of Big Ten Tires

(Bowie, MD) – The Tire Industry Association (TIA), a leader in tire safety, remembers Barney Burks Jr., founder of Big Ten Tires. Barney passed away at his home on December 20, 2017. He was 87 years old.

Barney was born on August 6, 1930 in Birmingham, AL to Reverend Barney B. Burks and Mamie Lou Burks. He graduated high school in Gadsden, AL and attended college at Jacksonville State in Jacksonville, AL before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force at the age of 22. Barney became a pilot 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. After successfully completing 100 missions, he returned to Sumpter, SC where he was honorably discharged. 

In 1956, Barney founded Big Ten Tires with his brothers, Woody, and Doug Burks in Pensacola, Florida. He was then elected Mayor of Pensacola for two consecutive terms from 1973-1977. After ending his last term as mayor, Barney took on 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 NTDRA and close friend of Barney. “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. 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 Burk’s family friendship and support.”

Barney is survived by his wife Peggy Sue Burks; daughters Monique Rogers (Buddy), Renee Lord (Simon), sons Barney B. Burks, III (Barbara), Greg Vannoy (Alex), Todd Vannoy (Ashley); brothers Bob Burks, Johnny Burks, and sister Geraldine Cottman. He has twelve grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

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About Tire Industry Association: The Tire Industry Association (TIA), with a 97-year history representing all segments of the national and international tire industry, is the leading advocate, as well as, instructor in technical training of tire service technicians. For more information, visit www.tireindustry.org or call 800-876-8372.