OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The founder of an Oklahoma-based convenience store network has passed away at the age of 85.

On Tuesday, Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores confirmed that Tom Love, the founder of the company, passed away.

“Tom Love was a man of conviction who never wavered from the principles of honesty and integrity in the 59 years he spent developing the company he started with his wife, Judy,” said Shane Wharton, president of Love’s. “These tenets still guide our company and will as we move forward. Tom always listened and was sincerely interested in knowing the stories of employees and customers. He wanted to hear their thoughts, ideas and hopes for them, their families and the company. He credited the company’s success to the people who worked for us. He could relate to all employees but had a soft spot for those on the frontline at stores. In many respects, he was an ordinary person who built an extraordinary business alongside his wife Judy and his family, who he loved deeply.”

Love is survived by his wife of 62 years, Judy, his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Tom and Judy Love
Credit: Love's
Tom and Judy Love Credit: Love’s

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved husband, father and grandfather,” said the Love Family. “He loved people, and that was evident in how he guided our family, operated the business he started in 1964 and gave back to our community and organizations across the country that serve others. He was always committed to helping others succeed and opening the door for leaders, including his children and grandchildren, and we look forward to building upon his legacy. While the grief we feel is unmeasurable, we celebrate his life and will continue his legacy of living a life filled with integrity, honesty and faith.”

In 1964, Tom and Judy Love used $5,000 to lease an abandoned service station in Watonga. From there, they opened 40 stores in eight years in western Oklahoma.

Tom Love wanted to establish a new concept of combining convenience stores with a self-service gas station.

In 1972, The original country store opened in Guymon and became the first in the nation to combine self-service gasoline and grocery items.

In October of 2022, Love’s opened its 600th location.