Toyota’s Atlantic Operations Chief Joseph Burdis Dies at 92

Aug 23, 2016 06:20 AM EDT | Rubi Valdez

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World War II veteran and chief of Toyota's mid-Atlantic operations Joseph Burdis, Jr. died Aug. 15 at the age of 92. His family did not disclose the cause of the death but it was reported the older Burdis passed away at the house of his daughter, Tracy, in Hampstead.

During his tenure as chief of dealership, Burdis helped Toyota become successful especially during its early years as well as supervised the company's overall business. "He supported businessmen who were starting their businesses," Tracy recalled of her father. "He supported families and men and women who were starting from scratch and helped them continue and sustain their success."

Burdis and his wife Blanche E. Wilson, Ford Motor's first woman dealer, moved to Columbia in early 1970s. Mr. Burdis joined Central Atlantic Toyota first as an assistant in inventory, sales, and recruitment. He became the vice president until his retirement in 1993, Baltimore Sun reported.

According to Carol Smith, Burdis' executive assistant for 18 years, her boss was integral in Toyota's rise in the market especially during the time when foreign-manufactured cars were less competitive.

"He made it his personal goal to make sure that Toyota was successful in this area," Smith said. "He knew that Toyota was a good product, he knew it was going to be successful but it was going to take the right people to put it out there for the public to see."

His colleagues knew him as a gregarious and devoted man who also was charming to people working with him. Burdis is survived by four sons such as Raymond and John from Apollo and Hanover, Pennsylvania; Ronald from London, England; and James from New Market. He also had five daughters, 21 grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren.

Burdis' interment is held Monday 10:30 AM on Aug. 22 at Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church in 6410 Amherst Ave., Columbia, as announced in Dignity Memorial website.

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