BAY MINETTE – Frank Burt Jr., who served on the Baldwin County Commission for almost 30 years was remembered as someone who helped steer the Baldwin from near bankruptcy to Alabama’s fastest growing county.
Burt, 88, died Saturday in Bay Minette. He served on the County Commission from 1989 until 2018.
Current commissioners remembered Burt as a leader who put Baldwin County first.
Commissioner Charles “Skip” Gruber served on the commission with Burt for 12 years.
“He was a statesman. He was a friend. He had his heart in what he did for Baldwin County,” Gruber said. “He didn’t do it for Frank Burt. He did it for the citizens of Baldwin County. There were times, we really had trying times. We’re all different, but in the end it all came out and we still got stuff accomplished. Frank was a real good leader.”
Jeb Ball followed Burt as the District 1 commissioner representing north Baldwin.
He said Burt was a “legend,” who served the community not only as a commission, but a pharmacist for more than 35 years.
“I can remember hearing stories about bringing this county out of bankruptcy and starting over again,” Ball said. “How much he’s going to be missed and how much this county has thrived and is where it is today based upon his leadership. I learned a lot from Commissioner Burt. If you grew up in Bay Minette, you didn’t have a choice but to grow up with Commissioner Burt because he was our pharmacist and also our doctor and everything else. He would come out to the house in the middle of the night, whenever your parents needed him out there, he’d be out there.”
Commissioner Billie Jo Underwood said Burt helped shape the commission and Baldwin County.
“He really loved Baldwin County and his thumbprint’s all over this county,” she said. “He definitely made a great impression on the County Commission.”
Commission Chairman Joe Davis said Burt was an inspiration for many people in public service in Baldwin County.
“He was a a great leader, a great person that spoke his mind, stood his ground, but he listened to different points of view and he and I got to know each other while I was on the Daphne City Council and I can remember sitting right over there and him calling out to me and saying ‘Mr. Davis, do you have anything to say from Daphne?’ And I held up a check and it had been in controversy for some time and I was pleased to step up here and hand it to him,” Davis said.
Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack said Burt was a great supporter of law enforcement and the Sheriff’s Office both during his administration and that of his predecessor, Jimmy Johnson.
“Frank was a great patriot. He was a great gentleman. Always conducted himself very professionally and handled himself in an exemplary way as an elected official and he will certainly be missed,” Mack said.
Mack said Burt helped with projects such as expansion of the Baldwin County Corrections Center.
“He worked very closely in the Sheriff Johnson administration to help build Tower A in 1995 and see that whole project and was actually in on the beginning discussion phases of Tower B, which we hope to start construction on next year,” Mack said. “He was very instrumental in helping us to create our community corrections program that was done while he was a commissioner and actually sat on the community corrections board of directors a couple of times and help oversee that project.”
Earlier this week, Gov. Kay Ivey ordered that flags in Baldwin County be flown at half-staff on Thursday, Nov. 5, the day of Burt’s funeral in Bay Minette.