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POWELL, Tenn. -- Lynn Burkhart Weigel, co-founder of Weigel's Stores, died at his Knoxville, Tenn., home on Dec. 18, WBIR.com reported. He was 94.
Weigel, who was born on a Tennessee farm that his grandfather purchased in 1918, and his brother William were credited with transforming Weigel's Jug o' Milk and later Weigel's Inc. into successful businesses. The two were also credited with being one of the first to sell milk via drive-thru locations in 1958.
Drive-thrus became necessary because, following World War II, home milk delivery became a thing of the past, due to housewives remaining in the workplace. Therefore, nobody was home to accept a milk delivery.
Weigel's Stores expanded to its first "walk-in" milk store in 1964 and at about the same time, attended the third NACS convention in Washington, D.C.
Weigel's later developed into a traditional convenience store retailer. The company, now run by Weigel's nephew, chairman and CEO Bill Weigel, celebrated its 80th anniversary earlier this year. It has grown to about 60 locations within a 75-mile radius of Knoxville. The c-store chain employs 539 people.
Lynn Weigel Jr., a doctor living in Lincoln, Mass., recalled growing up in a loving and supportive household in an interview with KnoxvilleBiz.com. He said as a child, he would take Sunday rides with his father to identify locations of future Weigel's stores. "He had a good sense of real estate, and he and my mother both had an eye for where activity in Knoxville was centered," Weigel Jr. told the news outlet. "And they had a good feeling for how people move."
In addition to his son, Lynn Burkhart Weigel is survived by his wife Kathleen, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.
A celebration of his life is scheduled to take place this Thursday at 11 a.m. at Rose-Mann's Heritage Chapel in Knoxville. Memorial contributions can be made to: Church Street United Methodist Church, 900 Henley St., Knoxville, TN 37902.