Wendel Burt, co-founder of Burt Brothers Tire & Service, died unexpectedly on April 26 while adventuring outdoors with friends and family. Burt, who started the business with his brother, Ron, in 1991, helped grow Burt Brothers to its current 18-store footprint in Utah, predominantly in the Salt Lake City area.
“Doing what Wendel did best, caring for people, [he and Ron] grew the business from humble beginnings well beyond Wendel’s wildest dreams,” his obituary states. “A man of great faith, Wendel lived a life of service above self, demonstrating, again and again, a belief in a greater good and a world where the golden rule guides the actions of mankind. Like treads on tires, he truly left an imprint upon the paths he trod – at home, in his community, at work and at play.”
Jake Burt, Wendel’s son and partner in Burt Brothers Tire & Service, told Tire Review that he’ll most remember his dad for his huge heart. Not only did Jake and his brothers, Jason and Jeremy, as well as his cousins, Cory and Brandon, share hobbies like riding motorcycles with Wendel, they also inherited the business he dreamed of creating more than 30 years ago.
“I’ve gotten so many phone calls this week from people saying, ‘You don’t know me but let me tell you what your dad did for me,’” Jake said. “He did so much to spread goodwill out there and did so much charitable giving. “
A few causes close to Wendel’s heart were the Coats for Kids program, which gives jackets away to underprivileged kids. He was also an advocate for teachers and started Burt Brother’s Teacher Feature program, in which teachers are nominated by students to receive a two-year lease on a vehicle and maintenance all paid for by Burt Brothers, Jake said.
Wendel was also well known in the automotive/tire field of business, where he had hundreds of friends. With his insistence on exceptional customer service and “doing it better” than the competition, the business was recognized as Tire Review’s Top Shop Winner in 2021.
Wendel was born September 1, 1954, in Spokane, Washington to Kent and Hilda Burt, and grew up in Salt Lake City. He graduated from Cottonwood High School in 1972 and served on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Rochester, New York. When he returned home in 1976, he married Debbie VanLeeuwen and together they raised four children: Jake (Aubry) Burt, Jenica (Josh) Love, Jeremy (Emily) Burt and Jason (Stefanie) Burt. Later, he married Kerry Kastler in December 2014 on the shores of Maui, Hawaii – a place he treasured throughout his life, his obituary said. Wendel and Kerry share 18 grandchildren, according to his obituary.
Wendel also served as a Bishop in Sandy, Utah, and developed a special connection with the youth he had the opportunity to serve. He also served as a young men’s leader and hosted countless activities that brought people together.
Services honoring Wendel will be held in both Sandy and St. George, Utah. The funeral will be held under the direction of Russon Brothers Mortuary Saturday, May 6 at 11 a.m. at the Sandy Utah Granite Stake Center, 2535 E. Newcastle Drive, Sandy, Utah 84093. A viewing will be held Friday, May 5 from 6-8 p.m. and again Saturday morning from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
A Celebration of Life will be held under the direction of Metcalf Mortuary in St. George, Utah, at the home of Wendel and Kerry Burt on Sunday, May 7 from 4-7 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in memory of Wendel K. Burt be made to: Make-A-Wish Utah, 771 E Winchester Murray, Utah, 84107 or at www.wish.org/utah; and Conserve Southwest Utah at 321 North Mall Drive, Suite 8202, St. George, Utah, 84790 or at www.conserveswu.org.