Robert V. Burkhard
February 27, 1928 – December 11, 2021
The family will receive friends Thursday, December 16th from 5pm to 7pm followed by VIGIL SERVICE at 7pm, all at the West Center Chapel. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Friday, December 17th at 10am at St. Leo the Great Catholic Church, 1920 N. 102nd Street. Interment: Calvary Cemetery. Memorials are suggested to American Diabetes Association and St. Pius X/St. Leo Elementary School.
To view live broadcasts of the Vigil Service and Mass, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button on the home page.
Our dad, Robert “Bob” Burkhard, passed away on December 11, 2021. He was 93 years old and lived a life worth celebrating. Bob was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1928 and passed away there. Dad was a “Benson Bunny,” graduating from Benson High School in 1946 and was later inducted as a member of the “Bunny Hall of Fame.” He was not a globe trotter, although he did meet our mom in Sun Valley, Idaho, when they were Union Pacific summer employees. They married in June, 1952, and children began arriving soon thereafter. Dad had an enormously rich life in terms of friends and family. In recent years, he joked that his main social activity was attending funerals—but that was because he knew and liked so many people who happened to die before him.
After a stint in the army—he defended Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, from foreign threats—he practiced law for more than 25 years. While Bob liked to practice law, he did not enjoy the business side of running a firm. So, in 1980, Bob applied to become and was appointed a Nebraska District Court Judge – one level below the Nebraska Supreme Court. He served for 25 years; on occasion, he “filled in” for the state supreme court when they needed a hand. Bob was a fair and dedicated judge, held in the highest esteem amongst his colleagues, earning the nickname “Work Hard Burkhard.” Voters retained him on the bench every six years by margins that would make even Kim Jong Un wince in embarrassment.
Judge Bob loved his work. It wasn’t uncommon to come home at night and find him sitting at the kitchen table surrounded by files and legal pads. Some of his cases included forcing a slum landlord to make his apartments livable, shutting a movie theater that showed, let’s say, “I know it when I see it movies”, and several notable—at the time and place—right to protest cases. You did not want to be convicted of a crime against a child in front of Judge Bob. His statement while handing down a guilty verdict in one such murder case would make you cry. But this was not surprising from a father of 8 children.
He was a wonderful dad with an abundance of love to share equally and unselfishly with our mom, eight children, five sons-in-law, one daughter-in-law, 16 grandchildren and 2 greats. Dad was fortunate to have a great partner in life, our mom Cathy, although it’s possible he may never have changed a diaper. Apart from that, he was always there for us. Bob had a genuine interest in everything his family did and would sacrifice anything for his loved ones without hesitation and always with a smile.
Dad was active in many ways: he was a huge Nebraska Cornhusker fan, never losing faith no matter what the win/loss record said. He enjoyed playing tennis and golf well into his later years; he liked to travel especially if that travel included a baseball or football stadium. Dad enjoyed being with people socially and professionally. He was a people person to the core, and truly did not know a stranger.
We, his children, can only hope that we live our lives half as fully and successfully as he did for 93 years. He was a remarkable person, loved by all who knew him. We are undeniably proud to have called him “Dad.” The void he leaves cannot be filled; but the power of his unconditional love, faith, kindness, and corny jokes will sustain us until we meet again.
Bob’s passing leaves fond memories behind of his love for family, engaging and humorous spirit and a life well lived. He united us all at the Murphy family reunions – thank you Bob and Catherine for always including the Southern California “clan”.
Sue, Please accept our heartfelt sympathies for your loss. Our thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time. Greatest memory of your dad, was interviewing him to make sure he was a fit Judge to marry us. on October 22, 1988, he lived up to expectations.
I had the pleasure of trying many jury trials in Judge Burkhard’s courtroom. He loved the law and liked the lawyers who practiced before him. His bailiff Gwen was tough when it came time to set your case for trial but if you could get past Gwen the judge would always to listen and give you a pass if you truly needed it. Bob had a great sense of humor and it was always a pleasure to appear before him. We missed him once he retired but we knew he deserved time with his big family. We will miss him.
Oh so sorry to hear of Bob’s passing. He was such a lovely, kind person. I remember his love of the Cornhuskers and his gentle kindness when we stayed with Bob and Catherine. We have lit a candle for Bob and will remember him fondly.
I send my heartfelt condolences to Bob’s family. I loved all my interactions with him at many Bar functions. Each year at the Field Day banquet he posed for me with a bevy of pretty young lawyers for a fun picture. I don’t know who had more fun, the judge or the women! I always looked forward to seeing him, at that event in particular. Always smiling, he was a kind, sweet man who made you feel good. He will be greatly missed. May you find peace in your memories.
Burkhard family, I had the privilege of working with Judge Burkhard when he was filling in for other judges after his own retirement. He was so hard working and quick witted. What he lacked in stature, he made up for with character. His laugh was infectious. He was just a darn good person and I am so happy I got to know him.