Jul 12th 1945 - Sep 24th 2011
A man of tremendous strength and courage, Bob Burson was a man who treasured his family above all else. With a work ethic that was unmatched, he worked tirelessly to provide a comfortable lifestyle for his wife and children, yet he also took what time he could to drink in some of the best things life has to offer. Bob was an extraordinary grandfather who would have given his grandchildren their heart’s desire if it was within his reach no matter the personal cost. The legacy of integrity, honor, and devotion Bob established will live on in the lives of those who follow him.
By the mid-forties America was more than ready to embrace a new way of life since the first half of the decade revolved around our nation’s involvement in WWII with ramifications not only overseas, but back on the home front as well. As a nation we celebrated the end of the war in 1945, but this was also a year of great significance for one young family from Kalamazoo, Michigan, since they welcomed a new baby boy into their home on July 12th. Bob was one of seven children born to his parents, M. Terry and Betty Burson, and experienced a childhood that was not an easy one. He attended local schools and graduated from Schoolcraft High School in 1963.
With his formal education behind him, Bob entered the United States Air Force and honorably served his country.
After being discharged from the military, Bob returned to Michigan where he resumed the life he set aside for a time. Known for his strong work ethic, he began working at Simpson Paper where he remained for 27 years, and he also served as a volunteer firefighter in Schoolcraft. Bob later retired from American Axle in 2008.
Work certainly played an important role in Bob’s life, but nothing was of greater value to him than his family. His life was forever changed when he married the love of his life, Pat Reinoehl, with whom he shared the best years of his life. All who knew Bob knew that his wife was the center of his world. Together they were blessed with four children, Jim, Kevin, Lori, and T.J. Bob’s work took him outside of the home much of the time in his quest to provide for his wife and children. At times, he even worked two jobs in order to provide. With the time that he was able to spend with his family, Bob loved to take them camping as often as he could. He also made the time to attend the activities his children were involved in including school and sporting activities.
When he did have time away from work, Bob enjoyed pursuing his interests. He was involved in his local rocket football league in Schoolcraft, serving both as a coach and as the president for a time. Bob was an avid sports fan, but was especially interested in following the NASCAR racing circuit. He could often be found tinkering around with golf carts as he enjoyed turning them into hot rods.
There was nothing in Bob’s life that was ever of greater importance to him than the people around him. His wife and children were his greatest source of pride and joy, and when grandchildren arrived Bob couldn’t have been happier. A phrase he often said to both his wife and his grandchildren, “I love you more,” illustrates how deeply they were loved. Bob had a special place in his heart for children, especially those selling things at the front door as no matter the product, he was always willing to buy something from them.
Life became more difficult for Bob and his loved ones when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. As the true patriarch of the family, he particularly worried about his family’s well being after he was gone. While engaged in the fight for his life, Bob never complained about the depth of the challenge or the pain he was in. It was with his family by his side that he drew his last breath.
When reflecting on the life of Bob Burson, words such as independent, generous, and proud come to mind. He was resilient with a spirit of generosity that spread to many others within his reach. Bob taught us so much about what it means to work hard and to take personal responsibility for our lives. The memories he leaves behind will remain forever near and dear to the hearts and lives of his friends and loved ones.
Bob Burson of Schoolcraft died on September 24, 2011, at his home. Members of Bob’s family include his wife, Pat; sons, Jim (Tammy) Burson, Kevin (Heidi) Burson, Lori Burson and T.J. Burson; grandchildren, Bobby, Cory, Tyler, Ross, Peyton, Jordan, Lauren and Emma; siblings, K.C., Mike, Marlene, Peggy, and Terry and several cousins, nieces and nephews. Bob was preceded in death his father, M. Terry Burson; mother, Betty Burson; and sister, Louise Burson. Friends may call Wednesday from 1-3 and 6-8 p.m. at the Life Story Funeral Home Vicksburg, 409 Main St. (649-1697) where funeral services will be held Thursday at 1 p.m. Please visit Bob’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a memory or photo, sign the online guestbook, and make a donation to Hospice Care of SW Michigan.