It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our beloved husband, father, and grandfather, Robert “Bob” Burkhardt. His peaceful passing on Friday, January 10th at sunset came after a long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease. Bob positively impacted many during his 72 years and we will never forget how he touched our lives with unconditional love and support. Bob had an unwavering love for his Christian faith, family, and all things sugar!
Robert Earl Burkhardt was born on November 19, 1947 in Indianapolis, Indiana to parents Robert J. Burkhardt and Martha Marie Goodall Burkhardt. He graduated from Decatur Central High School and Indiana University. Immediately after graduation from IU where he was in ROTC, he entered the United States Army where he served for several years after which he finished out his time with the Reserves and was honorably discharged. He claimed that his most notable achievement during his army years was playing golf and working part time in El Paso, Texas at a department store selling toys. That was Bob’s first foray into the world of sales.
Bob was a salesman extraordinaire, beginning his career after leaving the military in the air freight business in Indianapolis. He quickly moved to the medical industry where he found his niche, working for
Codman & Shurtleff selling surgical instruments. It was during this time that he met his wife Cindy, who was a customer, and obviously sold her quite a bill of goods which lasted over 40 years! He next worked for Richards Manufacturing and then moved to Protek Inc. (a Swiss firm) where he set up their United States distribution business. From there, Bob went to work for Osteonics as a salesman in northeast Indiana, Chicago, and finally Detroit.
The transition to Detroit was an offer to be a distributor for then Osteonics, now Stryker Corporation. This was a move which lasted 18 years as Bob was President and CEO of Surgical Specialties and then OsteoSolutions. Each year his business, with partner/wife Cindy, won national awards as a top sales organization. Bob never forgot that their success was due to their amazing employees who embraced his vision. His strength was in helping them see their future successes and guiding them to achieve it.
He is survived by his wife Cindy, sons Kyle and Dana, their wives Sara and Neely and three grandchildren Jack, Jane and Vaughn and his brother Terry, niece Jennifer and their families. He was predeceased by his parents Bob and Marie and his sister Kathie.
We would like to thank the amazing Dr. Naomi Salins MD and her staff at the Muhammed Ali Parkinson’s Center, along with therapists Therese, Shannon and Tom and outreach program coordinator Patty who kept his Parkinson’s at bay for so long, really improving his quality of life over the last 12 years. Thanks are also in order to his amazing home helpers: Ann, Sophie and Shan. To the very special program managers and participants of Rock Steady Boxing at the YMCA in Angola, you were an inspiration and a source of joy for many years. And to his earth angels from Sage Hospice, Carol, Megan, Theresa, and Charlene, who brought him comfort and peace in his last weeks with us. A special thank you to all of his amazing friends and family who gave him unconditional love and support and walked alongside him as he faced life’s challenges with his illness. Bob’s goal was to have some good come from his Parkinson’s experience and he felt truly blessed to have so many people in his life supporting him.
Bob’s generous and kind spirit will be missed by all that knew him. Services will be held on Saturday, February 8th at 9:00 am (with reception to follow) at Camelback Bible Church in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Another service will be held June 13 at 1:00 pm at Fairview Missionary Church in Angola, Indiana. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute (select Parkinson’s Outreach) or to the YMCA of Angola, Indiana’s Rock Steady Boxing Program.