Today we got the stunning news that Gary Burks, longtime general manager of Foothill Distributing (now Blach Beverage), passed away suddenly late Wednesday evening. I am very much still trying to process this reality, and thought I would share with you at least a few thoughts that have come to mind about my friend, fellow Rotarian, and local legend in the Redding business community.
Gary was one of those people who made you feel as though you were his best friend. I would see him and he would always be in a better mood than I was. And I am not alone in this sentiment. When Gary wasn’t filling your cup with an ice cold Budweiser and talking about the Giants, Niners, Redding Colt 45’s, or UCLA, he was “filling your cup” in other ways. I always left my visits with Gary feeling better about myself and about life.
He was a tireless community supporter. In just the few hours since we received word of his passing, I have heard of his devotion to youth sports, local events, and memories of his weekly Facebook posts about taking his mom grocery shopping at Wal-Mart.
Gary put into action the notion that you get back what you give in life and in business. Just yesterday the Chamber team was emailing with Gary to make sure the logo and photo we use for next week’s virtual “Legends & Leaders Gala” showcasing Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer is going to meet his expectations. After all, he made a handsome contribution in support of the Redding Chamber to have it be the official beverage of the event. Gary, a past president of the Rotary Club of Redding, has been a significant ally and advocate of the Chamber and the north state business community for decades. He exemplified Rotary’s motto of “service above self”.
I would like to take a moment to let his family know that they are in my thoughts and prayers. I pray for your peace and comfort. Please know that there is an immense community of support surrounding you at this time of grief.
As I once heard at the memorial service of another community champion, “a giant tree has fallen and the forest will never be the same”. Gary Burks, this Bud’s for you. You will be sorely missed.
If you would like to share a story about Gary that we can share in next week’s Tuesday E-Newsletter, please email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.