Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home
305 Sixth Street
Traverse City, MI 49684
(231) 947-6347
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Robert Burger

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Robert Burger Obituary
Robert Burger

Traverse City - Robert Dean Burger, Bob to his friends and relatives, passed away on May 25, 2018 in the peace and comfort of his own home, surrounded by family. He was 93 years old and had lived in the Traverse City and Leelanau Peninsula area for the last 27 years. Bob was born in 1924 in Ionia, MI to Belmont and Isobel Burger. He was the oldest of three children; his sisters Jane and Peg predeceased him. Growing up on a farm in the Depression Era, Bob honed survival skills such as hunting, fishing and vegetable gardening; skills he would carry with him his entire life and eventually turn into beloved hobbies and pastimes that he would enthusiastically share with friends and family. Bob attended General Motors Institute in Flint, MI. Sponsored by Oldsmobile, Bob graduated from GMI's Four-Year Cooperative Engineering Program in 1946. It was during his college years that he met and married Helen Blazek, his wife of 73 years. After graduating from GMI, Bob spent his entire professional career working for General Motors in a number of managerial positions in more than a dozen cities around the country. He began his career at Oldsmobile in the sales department where he was promoted to Assistant General Sales Manager in 1969. In 1974 Bob was named General Sales Manager of Buick. This was quickly followed by a promotion to Vice President in Charge of the GM Sales and Marketing Staff. In 1982 he become VP/General Manager of Cadillac, and in 1984 he assumed the same position at Chevrolet. It was at Chevrolet where he found the most joy and professional satisfaction, overseeing many new product launches as well as the highly successful and legendary "Heartbeat of America" advertising campaign. His years at GM allowed Bob to travel the world and meet Presidents, movie stars, industry titans and business tycoons. But the people he loved meeting the most were the car dealers. He was a tireless advocate for their cause, understanding they were the lifeblood of General Motors' success. He retired from General Motors in 1989, but never lost his love for the company and the many privileges in life it had afforded him. Bob spent his retirement on Lake Leelanau pursuing his passions of deer hunting and fishing, as well as on the Gulf Coast of Florida where golfing was his main pastime. Bob is survived by his wife, Helen; three sons Roy (Leslie), Dean, and John; three grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. The family will be holding a small, private service. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Bob's name be made to either the Munson Manor Hospitality House or Munson Hospice c/o Munson Foundation, 1150 Medical Campus Drive, Traverse City, MI 49684. Or via their website Please visit to share a memory with the family on Bob's tribute page. The family is being cared for and served by the Reynolds Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services.


Published in The Detroit News & Detroit Free Press on June 6, 2018
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