Robert Charles Burrell

January 20, 1943 - February 7, 2014

Robert Charles Burrell “Bob” of Fairview, Texas, passed away late Friday February 7, 2014 at the age of 71. Bob was born on January 20, 1943 in Highland Park, Michigan and grew up on Ward’s Point in Orchard Lake with his parents, Frank and Marjorie (Day) Burrell, and brother Barry. His childhood was spent boating and waterskiing on Cass Lake. His passion for racing cars and motorcycles developed at young age with inspiration from his father, as well as the Michigan Hot Rod Association meetings held in the basement of their family home. Bob graduated from West Bloomfield High School in 1960 and attended Michigan State University, as well as Flint College.

In Michigan, Bob also met the love of his life, Jo Ann Martin, and courted her in amusing ways, such as ‘burn outs’ in the parking lot outside of her classroom window when picking her up after school. Bob and Jo were married in 1965 at Christ Church Cranbrook and started a family of their own, with the births of Jennifer in 1971 and Chip in 1974. Jenny and Chip were predominantly raised in Plano, Texas, where Bob and Jo selflessly supported their many years of gymnastics, motorcycle racing, and various other adventures during their 20-year residence.    

Bob worked at Victor Duncan, Inc., a motion picture equipment company, at their Detroit, Dallas, and Chicago locations for 25 years. However, Bob most enjoyed being a self-taught, self-employed entrepreneur for the last 20 years of his life. Through his company, Burrell Enterprises, Inc., he designed, manufactured and brought to market LitePower movie-quiet generators and related accessories for the movie and entertainment industry. The vision for his first generator was scribbled on paper at his dining room table, and the first prototype was built in his garage in Plano, Texas. Bob was tirelessly devoted to his business and truly loved designing and creating new parts and products. The success of his ventures allowed for his retirement in 2012.

Because of his entrepreneurial spirit, Bob and Jo were able to enjoy a 10-year residence in Tottenham, Canada, where they lived in the country on a beautiful farm, enjoyed getting to know people in their community, spent summer weekends boating with friends on the Georgian Bay, and winter days snowmobiling.  

Bob and Jo left Canada in 2011, choosing a permanent residence in Fairview, Texas and a summer residence back on Cass Lake where Bob grew up. Bob spent a couple wonderful summers back in Michigan, surrounded by old friends at the annual Dream Cruise, and new friends at his morning coffee group. Bob and Jo loved visits from friends and family, to accompany them on their many afternoon boat rides. Bob’s dream boat from the Georgian Bay was replaced with a pontoon boat, and the water skis were replaced with inner tubes for his grandchildren, but the smile on Bob’s face remained as enthusiastic as ever.

Bob is survived by his wife Jo Ann Burrell of Fairview, TX; daughter Jennifer Frese (George) of Madison, Wisconsin; son Robert Charles Burrell, Jr. “Chip” (Meredith) of McKinney, Texas; grandchildren Emma Grace Burrell (9), Edie Elizabeth Frese (7) and Ellie Ryan Burrell (5); Brother Barry Burrell (Donna Craig) of Howell, MI; and niece Allison Burrell of Howell, MI.

The family will have a celebration of Bob's life on Sunday, February 16th at Churchill's Pub in downtown McKinney, Texas at 100 N. Tennessee Street from 2:00 to 4:00. Bob’s final resting place will be at Oakland Hills Memorial Gardens in Novi, Michigan, where he will forever be surrounded by family.

Memorial donations can be made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK, 73123-1718, https://donate.cancer.org/index?campaign=search&;gclid=CJnCwOqVxLwCFTRo7AodIxQAcA.

Bob was such a huge presence and influence for our family and his absence will be very difficult. Our family is grateful to be left with his lessons on how to persevere, live a meaningful life, and most certainly how to have fun.   We take comfort in knowing he is now with our Lord, and we will continue to live life to its fullest in his honor.

Memorials Would you like to say a few words? Click Here +

Bob and I worked together at Victor Duncan, Inc. starting in 1967. Over the years we kept in touch and ultimately ended up in business together with a boat generator project called "Silent Knight". We had regular lunches and breakfasts in the last couple of years. Bob will be missed. Norm and Andrea Bleicher, February 15, 2014 I have know Bob since I was 13 and Jo my whole life. They were just that special couple. I send my heart felt sympathy to Jo and family...Love Cheryl Broome, February 13, 2014 So sorry to loose another classmate and friend. My prayers, good thoughts and love are with and for all the family. Ruth (Stilwell) Hanson, February 13, 2014 We will miss our Captain Bob more than words could ever express. Boating on the Trent and Georgian Bay will never be the same. Thinking of you all and knowing that Bob's love of life and radiant smile will always be with you. Stan, Jo-Anne and Taylor Jones, February 13, 2014 Bob and I were classmates at West Bloomfield High School just outside of Keego Harbor, MI and we shared a few mischievous adventures during our years there. Rest in Peace old friend. You will be missed. Ralph Battishill, February 13, 2014 What a visionary when it came to business. Bob led an extraordinary life. Gino's dream cruise night won't be the same without him, but when I'm there, I'll have a beer for Bob. Bob Lapadot (Gayle Prout), February 12, 2014 I have known Bob since our high school days at West Bloomfield and have known Jo Ann all my life We used double date and have so much fun. I have always loved Bob's sense of humor and his ability to always look on the bright side of life.I will miss him so much.My trips back to Michigan each year will be less fun and sad now that he is gone. My thoughts and prayers are with my best friend Jo and her family. Gayle Katherine Lapadot (Prout), February 12, 2014 Sorry to hear of your loss I will keep you in my thoughts Cecily Perskin, February 11, 2014