Charles "Leo" Burks
1933 - 2020
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Charles "Leo" Burks
October 29, 1933 - November 20, 2020
Richland, Washington - Charles "Leo" Burks went to meet his maker on November 20, 2020, surrounded by his beloved wife and two precious daughters…and all the love their hearts could hold. His death was marked by the same fighting spirit with which he lived his life. Leo battled heroically and held on for as long as he possibly could, his last testament of the purest and truest love for his three girls and everyone he loved. He was still looking out for others as he had always done.
Leo was a compassionate, down-to-earth, generous man who never knew a stranger. He loved meeting new people and would strike up a conversation whenever and wherever, knowing a person's life story in a matter of minutes. It was a rare and endearing trait. One such stranger commented that the world would be a much better place if there were more people like Leo in it.
Born on October 29, 1933, to Samuel Owen Burks and Edith (Moore) Burks in McCredie, MO, Leo was the middle brother of seven boys. They were raised predominantly by their dearest mother during a time of great scarcity, relying on the generosity of family and community to make ends meet. In his youth, he worked odd jobs bailing hay and delivering newspapers to a P.O.W. camp in Illinois. The hardship and toil of his early life helped shape him into a humble, thoughtful, hard-working, respectable man of faith and character, and forged an unbreakable and life-long bond among the Burks Brothers.
Leo attended one-room country schools through the seventh grade and graduated from VIT High School in Table Grove, IL, where he lettered in football, basketball, baseball, and track. He was editor of the school newspaper, secretary of his class council, graduated fourth in his class, and even dabbled in theater. He maintained close ties to his classmates "back home" and attended his 50th class reunion -- a highlight in his life.
Upon graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army during post World War II occupation of Germany and, because of his strong engineering aptitude, was selected to train and work in microwave radio communications. Leo was especially proud of this work and the time he spent serving his country while stationed in France and Germany. He once was awarded a weekend pass for keeping his boots shined and his barracks impeccable.
After his time in the military, Leo joined his family in Richland, WA, and worked at the Hanford Site (G.E.) for one year. He then decided to work with his brothers at service stations in Moses Lake and Richland. The Burks Brothers were well known in the early days and eventually owned several Texaco and Conoco stations in the Tri-Cities. It was a time when "full service" included a spotless window cleaning, fluid and air check, and kids were given lollipops. During this period, Leo met his true love, Nancy "Dolores" Tracy, after she caught his eye at the VFW. They married in 1961 and had two daughters. Theirs is a story of love and devotion that lasted for 59 years. Together they purchased a Conoco station on Sylvester St. in Pasco, WA, where Leo spent most of his career. He had many loyal customers, several of whom became life-long friends. After retiring from the service station business, he began a new venture with his brothers in the apple business. They owned several acres and enjoyed farming together.
At home, Leo took great pride in maintaining a beautiful yard and garden, which were the envy of the neighborhood. He also loved to cook and host barbecues and family get-togethers. He spent many weekends relaxing in the kitchen where he perfected and stretched his culinary skills. Some of his specialties included homemade beef jerky and pretzels, fried green tomatoes and perch, corned beef, pork tenderloin sandwiches, fried chicken, and we can't forget his delicious spaghetti, oyster dressing, and German Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake! His other true passion was fishing. He loved spending time at Scootney and the Potholes Reservoir (O'Sullivan Dam), enjoying fun times and creating life-long memories with family and friends. The gang once stayed up until 2:00 a.m. cleaning over 300 perch in preparation for a huge fish fry. Leo was full of energy and always up for having fun. One of his greatest joys in life was being a dad and grandpa. Family was his life.
Leo leaves behind a loving family including his beloved wife Dolores and daughters Julie (Scott) Colby and Lisa (Julian) Laurenz of Richland, WA; grandchildren Sean (Kathleen) Colby, Nick (Katie) Colby, and Gabi Laurenz whom he loved more than anything; his brothers Frank (Sharon) and Russ; sister-in-law Shirley Burks; brother-in-law Jim Bill; and many nieces and nephews and their children who will carry on the Burks legacy. Leo was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Don, Bob, Bill, and Wally; in-laws Fred and Eura Tracy; brother-in-law Robert Tracy; and sisters-in-law Barbara (Tracy) Bill and Barbara Burks.
A viewing will be held on Friday, Dec. 4, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., a memorial service by invite (due to COVID) from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. (which will also be live streamed via Einan's website), followed by a public burial and military salute at Einan's Sunset Gardens. The family invites you to share your memories in the online guest book at
You were a truly great man who will be deeply missed. You would give the shirt off your back to anyone in need; life here on earth will not be the same without you. Sleep tight. We love you.

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Published in Tri-City Herald on Nov. 29, 2020.
11:00 - 12:00 PM
Memorial service
12:00 - 01:00 PM
Memories & Condolences
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6 entries
December 5, 2020
I'm thinking of you all as I remember Leo, but especially Dolores, Julie, and Frank. It was my privilege to be Leo's nurse at the Coumadin Clinic for many years. When his name was on my schedule, I truly looked forward to seeing him, Delores and Julie. I've enjoyed learning more about the wonderful man Leo was! Cherish all of your special memories as you celebrate Leo.
Christie Fry
December 4, 2020
I considered Leo a true friend. Kind of lost touch since moving to Moses Lake 22 years ago. Had hoped to come down for the graveside but didn’t work out. Best regards to all of you including Russ and Frank!
Bob Arnold
December 4, 2020
Julie and Lisa I'm so sorry to hear about the list of your father. My prayers are with you and your family. Love, Katrina
Katrina Lenkersdorfer
December 1, 2020
Delores, Lisa, Julie and all the Burks family, my prayers are with Leo and you all, I know he will be missed dearly by all. Leo was one of the good guys, he always made you feel welcome when you were around him. The Burks brothers were a part of my life since 1963, I worked for Bill and Russell in Moses Lake when I was in the AF. I remember my brother Bill (RIP) working with Leo at G.E., he would talk about Leo and the monoutanous job they were doing at Hanford, working on the Plutonium or Uranium Slug Line? The only way they made it through each day was their humor with each other. I met Leo when we delivered oil products to the brothers stations in the Tri-Cities, he like all the Burks brothers had work ethics second to none. Leo was a caring person to all whether family or friend. We are lucky that we will have memories of our love ones, and always be able to talk obout life with them. Leo, Rest in Peace, and prayers for all the Burks Family,
Bob Victor
Bob Victor
November 30, 2020
Lisa, I'm so sorry about your Dad's passing! You & your family will be in my prayers for comfort & peace during this difficult time of loss. I enjoyed reading his obituary and all that he accomplished in his life! My loving thoughts & prayers to all of you!
Colleen Hansen
November 29, 2020
Always a kind word and manner from Leo. I have watched him take food to his elderly neighbors. He loved watching children play. May he be richly rewarded for a lifetime of kindness.
Judith Pardee
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