Robert A. (Bob) Kurland passed away in his sleep on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, at the age of 88.
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Bob is survived by his wife of 62 years, Barbara, their four children: Alex, Ross, Dana and Barbara; as well as seven grandchildren.
Born on Dec. 23, 1924, in St. Louis, Mo., to Albert and Adele Kurland, Bob graduated from Jennings High School in Jennings, Mo., where he participated in basketball and track. Before graduating in 1946 from Oklahoma A&M with a bachelor of science degree in Education, Bob was active in many campus activities, including the Student Council for which he served as president in 1945 and 1946. He is most widely known though for his outstanding career on the basketball court.
Bob's collegiate career playing for the legendary Coach Henry Iba enabled him to set numerous records and garnered him various accolades, including being named a collegiate All-American three-consecutive seasons and Outstanding Player of the NCAA tournament in 1945 and '46, during which he and his teammates became the first team to win back-to-back championships.
He chose not to pursue a professional basketball career but instead opted for a job with Phillips Petroleum Company and an opportunity to play on the amateur Phillips 66 Oilers basketball team. During his six seasons with the team, the Oilers traveled extensively throughout the world in the course of winning three national championships. The highlight of this time in his career was taking part in the Olympic Games, winning Gold Medals in London in 1948 and Helsinki in 1952 where he was honored to carry the United States flag in the opening ceremony. Upon retiring from active basketball in 1952, he remained involved with the game by being elected to various Hall of Fame organizations including induction into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 1961, for which he served as President and a member of the Board of Trustees for a period.
Bob enjoyed a long career with Phillips Petroleum, where he held a variety of positions; ones responsible for the development of the self-service gas station concept, significant growth of the agricultural and plastics divisions, and management of various marketing initiatives throughout the United States. He received post-graduate management training at Stanford University. His corporate responsibilities took his family to Denver, Wichita, Memphis, Cincinnati and Atlanta. Ultimately, his travels returned him to Bartlesville, Okla., where he served as Vice Mayor and as a member of the city commission for several years. He also served on the OSU Foundation Board of Governors and the OSU Centennial Adviser Commission. He is a life member of the OSU Alumni Association and a member of the OSU Alumni Hall of fame. He retired from Phillips in 1985.
Bob enjoyed traveling, camping, participating in Boy Scout activities with his sons, playing golf and boating. After a vacation trip to Sanibel Island, Fla., Bob and his wife built a home on the island and have divided their time for the last 25 years between Bartlesville and Sanibel. Services will be held on a later date in Oklahoma.
Published in Examiner-Enterprise from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31, 2013