Robert "Bobby" Berkstresser, former owner of White's Travel Center, passes

Updated Apr 24, 2022
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The former owner of two major East Coast travel plazas and a fixture in the truck stop industry has died.

Robert "Bobby" Jordan Berkstresser, 71, of Lexington, Virginia passed on April 14.

Mr. Berkstresser owned the Lee Hi Travel Plaza in Lexington, Virginia and White's Travel Center in Raphine, Virginia. Both properties were recently sold to TravelCenters of America.

Bobby Berkstresser (center) passed away April 14 at the age of 71. He previously owned the White's Travel Center and Lee Hi Travel Plaza along I-81 in Virginia. He's shown here in 2018 receiving an award from NATSO's Lisa Mullings (right) and Coffee Cup Fuel Stops' Tom Heinz.Bobby Berkstresser (center) passed away April 14 at the age of 71. He previously owned the White's Travel Center and Lee Hi Travel Plaza along I-81 in Virginia. He's shown here in 2018 receiving an award from NATSO's Lisa Mullings (right) and Coffee Cup Fuel Stops' Tom Heinz.According to a statement on the NATSO website, "Berkstresser worked tirelessly to support the needs of truck drivers, a commitment most evident in the early days of the COVID pandemic. When state and local governments forced restaurants to close, Berkstresser adapted his operations to ensure truck drivers had food. He moved his entire hot breakfast from the dine-in restaurant to take-out and opened his take-out restaurants earlier each day to accommodate drivers. Berkstresser boxed and sold hundreds of Easter dinners for drivers."

“Bobby’s energy and passion for our industry were unparalleled,” said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings. “He gave generously of his time and knowledge, both with NATSO and industry colleagues. He never hesitated to help in whatever capacity he could when called upon. His loss will be felt deeply throughout the entire industry.”  

He was born on August 28, 1950, to the late Helen and Raymond Berkstresser. He was preceded in death by siblings, Barbara Ponton and Etta and Eddie Berkstresser.

He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Sue; three children, Jordan of Lexington, Kevin and his wife, Bobbie Lynn, of Vesuvius, and Corey and his wife, Chastity, of Lexington; grandchildren, Kamren, Jackson, Cole, and Cadrian; siblings, Lee (Bonnie) Berkstresser of Lynchburg, and Ray (Linda) Berkstresser of Glasgow; mother-in-law, Virginia Vess; numerous nieces and nephews, and many, many friends.

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Mr. Berkstresser attended Danville Community College while working at Westinghouse and working part-time for Herb Carwell at Midway Machine. His dream of owning his own business came to life in 1975, when he and his cousin, Dick Cash, opened Auto Parts and Supply in 1975. His eye for business continued to prosper with the purchase of Lee Hi Travel Plaza in 1981 and White's Travel Center in 2010. 

He won the NATSO Hall of Fame Award in 2018 for his participation in his community and the truck stop industry.

He was a member of Marlbrook Baptist Church and enjoyed golfing and playing cards with Robert Humphries, David Moore, and Jerry Swisher.

A funeral was held Wednesday, April 20, and burial will follow at Mt. Carmel Presbyterian Church.

The family would like to extend gratitude to Dr. Marsh and the team of medical professionals at Augusta Health who took care of Bobby during his illness.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Marlbrook Baptist Church (Shenandoah Christian Academy) 6926 N. Lee Highway, Raphine, Virginia.