Jon was born in Cabot, Arkansas in 1938, to John and Marjorie Burks. He attended Cabot public schools and graduated in 1955. He was a member of the Cabot Panthers football and track teams. His parents owned a dry cleaning business in Cabot, so Jon learned that business at an early age and worked in it until graduating from high school. Among Jon’s fondest memories during his youth were the countless hours he and his twin brother, Don, spent playing baseball with a broom handle and fishing cork in the Baptist Church yard across from their house. They also hid under the pews and made strange noises when the church organist practiced during the week. The Church was really spooky when empty and they would see someone go in and go over and try to scare that person by closing doors or making some type of noise. He also enjoyed playing baseball throughout his years growing up in Cabot and had the privilege to play against Brooks Robinson in American Legion baseball for 2 years. He joined the Arkansas Air National Guard after high school and attended basic training at Shepherd AFB in Wichita Falls, Texas.
He married Janelle Holland, his high school sweetheart, in 1956, and they recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. He and Janelle have lived in Cabot, Pine Bluff, and North Little Rock for their entire marriage. They have three sons, Greg (Susan), Todd (Karen), and Chris (Renee) and six grandsons, Parker and Scott (Greg), Sandy and Graham (Todd), Addison and Mackenzie (Chris). Jon likes to spend as much time as possible with his grandsons, attending their baseball, basketball, and soccer games, and taking them different places including sporting events, especially Cabot football games. They’re all big Panther fans too.
Jon joined GMAC on October 1, 1956 and retired after 38 years on December 31, 1994. He was Manager of Indirect Lending at Twin City Bank for almost 3 years before starting his own agency, Arkansas Dealer Services, marketing extended warranties and insurance products to automobile dealers. Jon has spent his entire career in the automobile industry. He is now semi-retired and enjoys golf, traveling, church activities, working on the church grounds, and attending Cabot and Razorbacks football games. He and Don never miss a game of either team except Razorback out-of-state games. Jon is currently President of the Builders Sunday School Class and Chairman of the grounds at FUMC.
Marion Janelle Holland (Burks) was born in 1939, to Raymond Holland and Dorothy Smith Holland in the small community of Wattensaw, Prairie County, Arkansas. Growing up in the country allowed her and her friends to go barefoot on Easter and continue until Labor Day. Other joys were horseback riding, swimming in the pond, and all-day singings at church. The downside of growing up in the country also meant long days in the cotton fields and very early hours in the dairy barn. She vowed she would never live on a farm as an adult.
Since she could read when starting school, after one week, the teacher moved her into the second grade which gave her the distinction of always being the youngest in her class and graduating from high school at 16 years old.
Both her parents worked in the Ordinance Plant at Jacksonville during World War II as did most others in that general area because everyone wanted to do their share during the war effort. They worked under very dangerous conditions building all types of artillery for the war. After moving to the "big city" of Cabot (pop.1100), she met her future husband, Jon, "a City Boy" and they became engaged during her senior year (he had graduated one year before) and married 3 months after her graduation. While he attended basic training, she became a private secretary to the owner of Stifft’s Jewelers in Little Rock—still at 16. After a few months, she left there to work at Southwestern Bell Telephone Company for 5 years, ending her secretarial career to start a family.
Jon and Janelle adopted their first son, Gregory Alan, bringing him home from the hospital at five days old. He was always a very loving, caring child --always smiling and helping others, and today is a Methodist minister at Sulphur Springs UMC in Pine Bluff. Fifteen months later they welcomed their second son, Todd, who is the office manager for Burks Family Medicine in NLR along with his wife, Dr. Karen Burks. They will be moving their office into Baptist Springhill Medical Center during the summer of 2007. In 1970, Jon and Janelle welcomed their third (and last) son, Christopher Scott, now Sgt. 1st Class in the Army National Guard working as Recruiter for Lonoke County. His picture is still in the Church Hall, having served a tour of duty with the Arkansas 39th Brigade in Iraq, and he and his family are very active members of FUMC-NLR.
Janelle worked with her mother, Dorothy, in retail women’s shops in Cabot, North Little Rock and the Excelsior Hotel in Little Rock, eventually buying the North Little Rock shop. She and Jon enjoyed buying trips to Dallas and New York and operating the business for 12 years. She and her mother even traveled to New Zealand to visit her brother and bought silk scarves and wool sweaters to sell in their stores.
She has served on many committees in the Church and currently is serving as chair of the Adult Program Committee. She enjoys working with volunteer organizations such as CARTI and Arkansas Children's Hospital Auxiliaries. She is currently serving a 3 year term on the CARTI Foundation Board of Directors and as Recording Secretary for Arkansas Children’s Hospital Auxiliary. Past volunteer work included Make a Wish Foundation and as a founding team member of the RAIN Care Team of FUMC-NLR, working with the AIDS Interfaith Network.
While caring for elderly parents takes much of their time, Jon and Janelle count time with their sons and their families as a great joy in their life. They enjoy traveling when they have the time and opportunity, as well as spending time with their friends.