Friday, October 14, 2016
4:00 PM to 8:00 PM CDT
Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home
803 Main St.
Racine, WI 53403
and on Saturday at the church 10:00 a.m. until time of service at 10:30 a.m.
Saturday, October 15, 2016
10:30 PM CDT
First Presbyterian Church
716 College Avenue
Racine, WI 53403
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Medical College of Wisconsin Eye Institute
8701 Watertown Plank Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226
Life Story / Obituary
Robert Walter “Bob” Buhler was an entrepreneur and a gentleman who loved to bring joy to everyone he met. He would pay a compliment to any stranger or acquaintance, waiter or salesperson. After all, his passion for engaging with others derived from his early days as a door-to-door milk salesman. “Good morning, ma’am, what a lovely home you have.” His routine continued, “Isn’t this an interesting shape for a milk bottle?” “Why, yes, it is!” she would inevitably reply. He was the President of Marigold Dairy and pioneer of the cream-top milk bottle, which uniquely separated milk from cream for use in cooking.
Recognizing that home delivery of milk was soon to become obsolete, he started one of the earliest convenient food store chains in the country, Open Pantry Food Marts of Wisconsin, Inc., and developed it into the largest convenient food store company in Wisconsin. Eventually, he transitioned the responsibilities of Open Pantry to his son, yet he remained the Chairman Emeritus until his passing.
Bob married the love of his life, Eunice Jean Berg, to whom he proposed after only 3 days of dating. They were married for 53 years. “When you know, you know.”
Together they raised three children who love and adore their father: Elizabeth “Betsy” Buhler of New York, NY, Rebecca (Doug) Emmons of Brookfield, WI and Robert (Violetta) Buhler of Lake Forest, IL.
Bob was proud of and devoted to his four grandchildren, Benjamin Banks, Lauren Banks, Eunice Buhler and Konstantine Buhler, whom he mentored and coached as they became a doctor, an elder care specialist, a lawyer and a venture capitalist, respectively. They will miss him deeply.
Bob was born in Racine, WI to Walter and Irene (Septon) Buhler, who predeceased him. Surviving Bob is his dear sister, Margie Sweet of Racine, sister-in-law, Viola Buhler, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his brother, Donald, and brother-in-law, Irwin “Buck” Sweet.
Bob always made time for philanthropy and community involvement. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church, The Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, the Kiwanis Club of Greater Racine, the Racine Rotary Club, member and board member of the Racine YMCA (including leading the development of their Health Club and a running club), member and former President of the Racine County Safety Council, and director of the Chamber of Congress Economics Club of Tucson. He had also bravely served in the U.S. Army during World War II, stationed in the Philippines.
Bob enjoyed spending time outdoors and experienced many of his fondest memories at his home on Trout Lake, in Minoqua, WI, which he named ‘Sconset, after the title of his favorite poem. He and Eunice retired to Tucson, AZ where they collected Southwest art and spent time riding horses, studying desert horticulture, and laughing with friends. After Eunice’s passing, Bob married Yvonne Lange who passed away in 2014.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Bob loved to learn. He attended weekly classes at the University of Arizona up until his passing, studying the Classics, economics, literature, history and the arts. Inspired by his course work, he would ask his grandchildren, “Who is your favorite Greek philosopher?” or “Do you know what Winston Churchill said?”
Bob passed away peacefully on October 6th in Tucson at age 93. The family is forever grateful to his Home Instead caregivers, particularly to his dear friend, Harry Moulin, and to his business administrator, Lisa Mappes.
Visitation will be held on Friday, October 14 from 4:00 pm- 8:00 pm at Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home (803 Main St., Racine, WI). There will be additional visitation at 10:00 am on Saturday, October 15 at First Presbyterian Church (716 College Avenue, Racine, WI), followed by funeral services at 10:30 am and a procession to Graceland Cemetery. Floral arrangements may be sent to Maresh-Meredith & Acklam Funeral Home or charitable donations may be made in Bob’s memory to Medical College of Wisconsin Eye Institute (8701 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee, WI 53226). May his memory be eternal.