Bob was born on November 25, 1932 in Laurel Hill, Florida to J.D. Burkett and Claudie Mae Hodge Burkett. Sadly, his father passed away when he was only one year old. His childhood was spent in Florala, AL; Mobile, AL; and Pascagoula, MS. Upon graduating from Pascagoula High School, he moved to Childersburg, AL with his mother, sister, and step-father. In 1953, he enlisted in the United States Air Force and eventually was stationed in Orlando where he served the remainder of his duty and met the love of his life, Alma. They married on April 16, 1954.
In 1957, shortly after his discharge from the Air Force, he began his career with Publix. As Publix expanded, Bob was transferred to south Florida where he was assistant manager in Lighthouse Point and then in Coral Ridge. In 1961 he was promoted to manager of a brand new store in Boca Raton and then to West Palm Beach. He worked his way up through the retail side of the business and retired as a Regional Director of Retail Operations in the Miami Division in 1995.
Bob’s faith in God was central to his life. As a young boy, he and his mother walked to a revival “tent meeting” and that is where he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. He then recommitted his life to Christ in his early adult life at a revival in Orlando. At that time, he and Alma committed to tithing and have been faithful servants ever since. Bob and Alma raised their three children in West Palm Beach where they were members of Haverhill Baptist Church for many years. While living in Boca Raton, they were active members of Bible Town/Boca Raton Community Church. Upon retiring, Bob and Alma moved back to the Orlando area and joined First Baptist Church Orlando. An important part of Bob’s life was serving in the church. Participating on various committees, ushering, serving as a deacon and teller, and helping in the widow ministry are just a few examples of how Bob desired to honor the Lord by actively engaging in church community. God honored his faithfulness and Bob lived a very blessed life. His life verse was 1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
Bob loved his wife and treasured Alma as a gift from God. He loved his family and when he wasn’t working, they were who he desired to be with. Above all, he loved the Lord and desired all to know Jesus as Savior. Bob was a man of great character - honest, a hard worker, reliable, compassionate, and generous. He prayed faithfully for his family and friends. He could always be counted on and was a wise counsel to many. He was a tenacious problem solver, a perfectionist, and a wonderful handyman. He was a devoted fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide. As an avid golfer, he truly enjoyed his Thursday golf with friends.
Bob will be greatly missed by his family and friends. There is great comfort in knowing that although he is no longer here with us in this temporary world, he is in the presence of his Lord and Savior waiting for us to join him one day. That is the hope that gives us the peace that passes all understanding. Bob would agree with David in his Psalm 23:6, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
The celebration of Bob’s life is Friday, September 23rd at 1:00pm in Henry Chapel, First Baptist Church Orlando with a reception to follow at the church.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be given in memory of Bob Burkett to First Baptist Church Orlando - Grace Ministry or Florida Baptist Children’s Home Lakeland (onemorechild.org).