Rockport — Al Burnett, 84, passed away on Sept. 7, 2012 in his summer home in Rockport. Al was born in Denver, Pa., the son of Al and Esther, and attended Drexel University with a full athletic and academic scholarship. Following graduation he returned to Ephrata, Pa. where he met his beloved wife Nancy, who passed away less than a year ago.
Al’s success as an entrepreneur began at a very early age. When he was 5 years old he sold his mother’s vegetable soup from a red wagon. While in college he sold Fuller Brushes door-to-door in downtown Philadelphia and managed a campus-wide candy business with his fraternity brothers. In the 1950s he established Twin Kiss, a family restaurant franchise that quickly expanded to 234 locations in 11 states.
Nancy and Al moved to Winter Park in 1966 with their family after acquisition of Contemporary Cars. During the next two decades he expanded the dealership to include the Porsche and Audi brands. The dealership had more employees with 10 and 20 years of service than any other dealership in the United States. This was the first of 16 automobile dealerships he purchased in Florida, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
Al is a highly respected entrepreneur and philanthropist with a long tradition of charitable giving to support young people and the community. He and Nancy were among the strongest supporters of higher education in the state of Florida. In recognition of their generous legacy at UCF, he received an honorary doctorate degree and the University’s President’s Home, Honors College and College of Biomedical Sciences are named in honor of Nancy and Al.
Al was a devoted husband, father and grandfather and some of his happiest times were those spent with the family on group vacations, holiday celebrations and special occasions. He was the life of every party and loved spending time with a close circle of friends in Winter Park and Rockport.
He will be greatly missed by his family and friends. He is survived by his children: Becky Moore (Dave Ellrich), Amy Gravina (Pete), Mindy Steele (Sam), and Bruce Burnett and his grandchildren: Allison Moore, Matt Gravina (Andrea), Karen Moore, John Ellrich, Alex Burnett and Sarah Gravina. His extended family included his niece and nephews Bert Mellinger (Regina), Linda Carneal, Dave Mellinger (Jill) and Rob Mellinger and their children. He is preceded in his death by his parents, his brother Rodney and his wife Nancy.
Memorial services will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 12 at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church Winter Park, 125 N. Interlachen Ave., Winter Park, Fla. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to Pen Bay Healthcare Foundation, 22 White S., Rockland, ME 04841.