Lloyd Robert “Bob” Buroker
June 2, 1936 – October 6, 2020
Lloyd Robert “Bob” Buroker, Jr. was born June 2, 1936, the only child of Lloyd Robert, Sr., and Louise Elizabeth (Sherman) Buroker, in Piqua, Ohio. He lived the first half of his life in that small town in the Miami Valley. As a sophomore at Piqua Catholic High School, he met his sweetheart when she joined the percussion section of the band. He played snares; she played the bass drum. He went home and told his mother he’d met the girl he was going to marry, declaring, “she’s cute, plays music and is short like me.” That young lady named Barbara became his wife of 62 years.
A two-time graduate of the University of Dayton, he completed a successful career in the textiles industry. One of his first jobs was with Atlas Underwear Company, also known as Allen-A, in Piqua. As an industrial engineer, he and colleagues designed a prototype cloth diaper for his new infant daughter complete with snaps so the baby wouldn’t be stuck with pins. It was too big.
In his forties he made a career move, relocating to south Louisiana to establish and manage a jacket factory for Holloway Sportswear in Ville Platte, Louisiana. He found much in common with the welcoming Cajuns, being Catholic, family-oriented and an avid outdoorsman. He studied, then taught his children, how to pronounce French surnames by reading the phone book. The Buroker family embraced local food, music and culture, becoming the envy of their Buckeye kin especially at Mardi Gras. Bob went on to open five more Holloway factories in Louisiana and Florida, providing hundreds of jobs in the process. He retired from the company as vice-president in 2001 with twenty-seven years of service.
Bob devoted considerable time to civic and community engagement. Beneficiaries included the Elks, Lions Club, Knights of Columbus, Evangeline Bank board, Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce, Jaycees, and anything involving his children or grandchildren. He was a longtime board member and president of the Sacred Heart School Foundation founded by Msgr. Edward Frugé, delighting in adopting creative fundraising ideas from other nonprofits. For his service to the Cotton Festival as Master of Ceremonies in the Queen Cotton pageant and as a Contradanse dancer, he and his wife were recognized as Monsieur et Madame Coton. In retirement he became active in the Rotary Club, gaining mention in the Ville Platte Gazette just weeks before his death for hosting a guest speaker.
Bob lived and instilled his faith. He served as a lector at St. Mary Catholic Church in Piqua until 1979. He continued this ministry as a member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Ville Platte, even reading at Mass while traveling abroad in New Zealand. In later years he sang in the choir while his wife played the organ. His enthusiastic baritone Amen will forever be remembered.
Bob was a jovial, gentle and grateful soul with a signature twinkle in his eye. When his parents passed away, his in-laws, Alice May (Slack) Jenkins and George Melvin Jenkins, also of Piqua, became like second parents. When his own son-in-law’s father passed away many decades later, he returned the favor. He was a gifted whistler. Over the years he cherished the company of friends, relatives, mentors, and buddies of all ages, enjoying fishing, hunting, card playing and visiting. He taught his grandchildren cribbage, sometimes with creative rules. His CB handle was Bobcat.
With his dearest companions, he traveled on all seven continents. Once in Hawaii he broke the silence on a long bus ride by breaking into “I’ve been working on the railroad.” The entire bus joined in. Bob and Barbara’s last major trip was a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2019, where their marriage was blessed at Cana.
Bob is survived by his wife of sixty-two years, Barbara Ellen (Jenkins) Buroker; a daughter, Elizabeth Buroker Coffin and favorite son-in-law Timothy Coffin of McLean, Virginia; a son, John Robert Buroker and favorite daughter-in-law Karen (Miller) Buroker of Abbeville, Louisiana; and seven grandchildren: Timothy John “TJ” Coffin, 1stLt Robert “Rory” Coffin, USMC, Annelise Katherine Coffin, and Ava Elizabeth Coffin; and Michael John Buroker, Shelby Ann Buroker, and Benjamin Patrick Buroker. He celebrated their every achievement. Each grandchild was special to him; and he was their muffin man and beloved PawPaw.
The family would like to thank the staff and medical teams at Ville Platte Mercy Hospital and Oschner-Lafayette General Medical Center; Rev. Tom Voorhies, Rev. Millard Boyer, and Rev. John DeCelles for their pastoral support; and all who lifted us up in prayer during Bob’s final illness. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Sacred Heart School Foundation, https://forms.diamondmindinc.com/shsvp/onlinegiving?token=1054870905.
A graveside service will be held at a later date. Local arrangements have been entrusted to Melcher-Sowers Funeral Home, Piqua, OH.