In Memoriam: Gary Burke

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Industry is mourning the loss of Gary Burke, founder of Life Line Foods and Buried Treasure Liquid Nutrients of Pikeville, TN.

Gary started the company in 1969, originially focused on sprouted grain breads and organic frozen pizzas, later moving to dietary supplements including the popular Buried Treasure Liquid Nutrients line.

"Gary Burks had the crazy idea that he should start a health food bakery that made healthy alternatives to the cereals and breads available on the market. So with little more than an idea and some ingenuity he figured out how to go about this task," stated Burke's grandson and Line Line Foods CFO and co-owner, Andrew, on the company's Facebook page.

Gary literally made equipment to bag healthy granola from spare parts he had lying around since such machinery was not yet readily available. He recruited his wife and children to help him, and went store to store from Tennessee to Florida delivering his goods. "This ingenuity would serve him well throughout the rest of his life," Andrew stated, noting that his hands-on approach helped him build lasting relationships over multiple decades and generations of ownership.

"Now as an owner in Life Line Foods I still get stopped at trade shows, nearly 50 years later, so people can tell me how my granddad would stop by their store to drop off bread—how he knew them and cared about them as people," said Andrew.

The company remains family owned, with Gary's son Lester Burke, CMO, at the helm.

Published on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 3/31/16