Dr. Robert "Bob" J. Burgbacher

May 4, 1939 ~ April 21, 2019 (age 79)

Dr. Robert “Bob” J. Burgbacher, 79, of Greenwood passed away on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019.  He was born on May 4, 1939 in Hancock, Michigan to the late Carl F. Burgbacher and Helen Larson Burgbacher Sower.

With 60 years of religious and social services, Bob lived his live under the mantra of “Service above Self”.   Bob began his service in the American Baptist Churches ministry.   He spent his first 20 years known a “Pastor Bob”. (“Burgbacher was too long and too hard to pronounce.”)  Serving as a minister in Terre Haute, Indianapolis, La Porte, and Greenwood churches.  A very dynamic and inspirational preacher, his religious efforts could be exemplified by growing the congregation base, actively engaging with the community services, and expanding the religious services available to the church.  It was also during this time that Bob developed an affinity for serving the youth and senior citizen communities. 

An avid learner, Bob achieved five academic degrees including a Bachelor and Masters Degrees from Indiana State, Master of Divinity from Christian Theological Seminary, Doctor of Sacred Theology from Wesley College, and a Doctor of Ministry from Indiana Christian University.   

After 20 years, Bob left the ministry to pursue a career in social services and became the Executive Director of Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center and a leader in the LGBT community.    He was fondly referred to as “Dr. Bob”.  It was here that he the developed his recipe for rejuvenating inner-city neighborhoods: schools, churches, and neighborhood centers working together.  “Find a need and meet it.  Find a hurt and heal it” he liked to say.   Using this recipe, Dr. Bob built a better, stronger, and inclusive Indianapolis community, one person at a time.

In his retirement years, he continued his servitude as the interim pastor at Big Flatrock Christian Church and interim Executive Director of the Emberwood Center.  He also recently moved into the Greenwood Village South community to enjoy the senior social scene.    In fact, he never really retired because his work and hobby were the same: service above self.  

Whether you met Dr. Bob as a friend, a boss, a pastor, a mentor, a colleague, a community leader, or a neighbor you developed a friendship as if he was your father, grandfather or brother.  He had a special ability to have hundreds of lifelong individual relationships with each one unique and special.

Survivors include his two sons, Mark Allen Burgbacher (wife, Becky) of Mason, Ohio and Jon Paul Burgbacher (wife, Jana) of Portland, Oregon; brother, Philip Sower (wife, Maureen); sisters, Judy Andrews (husband, Chuck) and Janis Frank (husband, Michael); and grandchildren, Christopher Joseph Burgbacher (wife, Amanda), Jonathan Ryan Burgbacher and Abigail Louise Burgbacher. 

Family and friends will gather for a celebration of his life on Saturday, May 4, 2019 (would have been his 80th birthday) from 3 to 7 p.m. in Lauck & Veldhof Funeral & Cremation Services, 1458 S. Meridian St., Indianapolis.  Funeral services will follow at 7 p.m. in the funeral home with Rev. Linda Snider officiating.

Inurnment will follow on a later date in the Hurst Cemetery in Rush County, Indiana. 

Memorial contributions in Dr. Bob’s memory have been suggested to Big Flat Rock Christian Church, Emberwood Center or Greenwood Village South.  Envelops will be provided at the funeral home. 

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