Rudolph Andrew Bukich, born September 15th , 1930 in St. Louis Missouri, has passed away this day February 29th, 2016 at the age of 85 at his home in San Diego, CA. Rudy has passed due to illness associated with sports related brain trauma and natural causes.
Rudy is the son of Croatian immigrants Andre and Emma Bukich, and is survived by his siblings Antoinette Sandwick, and Rose Marie Francis. Rudy is also survived by his wife Patricia and their two children, Rodolfo and Marianne. Rudy is also survived by his former wife Beverly Jean and their four children, Steven, Mark, Andre, and Alisa. Rudy has nine grandchildren and one great granddaughter.
Rudy attended Roosevelt High School in St. Louis Missouri before his college days at the University of Southern California as a scholarship athlete. Rudy excelled as a college football quarterback while at USC, evidenced by his admittance to the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 2014. Rudy also had an outstanding 16 year career as an NFL Quarterback from 1953 to 1968 with the Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, and notably the Chicago Bears. Rudy was instrumental in the Chicago Bears championship season of 1963 and also lead the NFL in passing efficiency in 1965, while playing with his favorite teammates Gale Sayers, Mike Ditka, and Dick Butkus. Prior to his passing Rudy was the oldest living former NFL Quarterback.
While Rudy was at the top of his NFL career he also excelled as a sports broadcaster with ABC TV in Chicago Illinois. Never one to rest on his laurels Rudy spent his NFL off-seasons in the classroom while earning his Master's degree in Education from BYU. Following his heart and love of teaching he spent the remainder of the NFL off season's as a high school level English, Mathematics, and Physical Education instructor in Southern California.
Upon retirement from the NFL, Rudy followed his true passion and became a Real Estate Developer in Southern California. As principal of RAB Development Rudy developed and built numerous multi-family apartments, custom homes, and mixed/use commercial properties in Southern California, while training his sons Steve and Mark in the business. Rudy and his family lived in Newport Beach, CA during the 1970's and eventually moved to San Diego, where Rudy built several custom homes including a retirement home in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
This is where Rudy met his wife Patricia while spending his retirement years raising their two children Rodolfo and Mariann.
Rudy was a family man, a proud Croatian, and Chicago Bear at heart. As a natural athlete his hobbies included snow skiing, coaching football, and working out in the gym. He had a passion for reading, cooking, and travel.
Rudy could be best described as an individual from humble beginnings that looked at every day as an opportunity to improve. His family members would describe him as a loving father that lead by example. He was a very affectionate father always wanting and providing the best for his loved ones.
Unfortunately, in his later years, Rudy's numerous NFL football related concussions came to surface as he suffered from memory loss, confusion, and was most recently diagnosed with CTE.
Rudy will be remembered as an exceptional athlete, having a lust for life, laughter, and possessing an extreme sense of pride for his family.
Graveside Services with Military Honors will be held at Miramar National Cemetery on Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at 2:00 PM.
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