Bob Buford was born in 1939, the firstborn of Pat and Lucille Buford. He was born in Okulgee, Oklahoma, where he spent many of his childhood years. After the birth of his twin brothers, Geoffrey (Jeff) and Gerald (Jerry) the family moved to Texas, where Bob spent most of his life. Bob enjoyed backyard Bible stories with his family and played high school football.
Bob married the love of his life, Linda in 1961 and they had one son, Ross Buford.
Bob’s mother, Lucille Buford, founded their family business, Buford Television, Inc., but her untimely death (when Bob was just thirty-two years old) came as quite a shock and an adjustment for the family and the business. Bob says of that time, “As a young man, the full weight of managing a family business had descended on my shoulders in my early thirties… My objective, starting from a small base, was to outgrow in percentage terms all the public companies in this business.” And he did! Bob recalls, “Beginning in 1971, the year of my mother’s death, our company’s market value grew 25 percent annually for a dozen years – very heady times for a young CEO.”
In response to Bob’s early ascent as CEO of Buford Television, he read every management book he could get his hands on. He was particularly drawn to the writings of Peter Drucker, whom he sought out as a mentor in 1981. Bob said of Drucker, “Peter’s thinking, so highly principled, felt as solid as granite to me. He wrote from a perspective that gave me the steel girders that framed the business practice that guided me through a forest of here-today-and-gone-tomorrow concepts. In Peter, I found a soul mate.” Peter Drucker personally mentored Bob for a number of years, and Bob was one of Drucker’s most devoted disciples. The two had a deep friendship and a beautifully productive camaraderie.
Bob was affiliated with and honored by many esteemed organizations. He was a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and of the Owner Managed Program at the Harvard Business School. He played active roles in Young Presidents’ Organization and World Presidents’ Organization and served on the board of the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Harvard. Buford was the 2000 recipient of The Samaritan Institute Award and the 2005 Christian Management Association Award. Lead Like Jesus presented Buford the 2008 Leadership Award and Roaring Lambs Ministry honored him in 2009. He was the 2010 recipient of the J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award from SMU Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility. In 2014, Bob was the honored recipient of Dallas Baptist University’s distinguished Russel H. Perry Free Enterprise Award.
Along with his many successes, Bob suffered many personal losses in life. His father died when Bob was in the fifth grade. He and his wife, Linda, lost their only child, Ross, who tragically drowned at age 24.
Bob is survived by Linda Buford, his wife of 56 years and a brother, Geoffrey (Jeff) Buford of Tyler, Texas. He was preceded in death by brother, Gerald (Jerry) Buford.