James Robert “Bob” Burull, born June 23, 1931, passed away peacefully after a brief illness, surrounded by his two daughters, Ruth and Erica, at Mayo Clinic Health Systems in La Crosse, WI. He went into the loving arms of His Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Monday morning, March 8th, 2021. He was raised on a farm in Stoughton, WI, and found that his upbringing there taught him a hard work ethic and a self-reliance that served him well in his life. His parents were James and Anna Burull. In high school, he was named Fightingest Fighter, after coming back in the third round after a knock-out in the first round. This experience taught him to never quit. He married Jeanne Ann Rowley in 1955. Bob and Jeanne first met when Jeanne played her violin at Bob’s one-room school house when he was in 8th Grade and she was in 4th. They commenced a brilliant and adventurous marriage together. One of his dreams and quests was to become a pilot. He joined the Army in 1955 to do so and was first in his class. He said that God was his co-pilot and had a deep and abiding faith that God was always looking out for him. He served stateside during the Korean War, later becoming a private pilot and earning his commercial license. Bob pursued an academic career after serving in the Army, and earned his M.A. in Agriculture and Ph.D in Communications in 1964. He taught at Kansas State University in 1960, where he was the Farm Radio Director for a five-state network and then at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, where he was a professor of Communications. In 1969, Bob and Jeanne returned to Stoughton to embark on an entrepreneurial career in Cable Television, launching one of the first local origination Cable Television Stations in the U.S., for which they became known. They produced all of their own television programs, starting what Bob called their “cable television adventures.” They served the community in interviewing political figures, covering local events and broadcasting Church services.
Bob continued his career in Communications when he and Jeanne, and their family moved to Stevens Point, WI, where he became a professor of Communications at UW-Stevens Point, working with students to produce television programs. He then accepted a position as Vice President of Telephone and Data Systems (TDS) in Madison, WI. He flew throughout the country winning cable franchises for TDS, in states such as Tennessee, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Bob and Jeanne were inducted into the Cable Center Hall of Fame in Denver, Colorado in 1999. A link to a description of Bob and Jeanne’s cable work can be found at www.cablecenter.org/programs/the-hauser-oral-history-project/b-listings/bj-bz/robert-and-jeanne-burull.html
Later, Bob produced “The Ol’ Bob Show” in Chaseburg, WI. He was an entrepreneur with many interests, writing agricultural grants for the study of ethanol and echinacea, starting a grocery store with Jeanne in Rudolph, WI near Steven’s Point called The Food Tree. Bob also ran for public office, and was elected to the Dane County Board of Supervisors. He was Commander of the American Legion in Stoughton, WI. He was a loving and devoted Husband, Father and Grampa, and so enjoyed spending time with
his family, especially his grandchildren, Paul, also in the military, Sarah, Zayda and Anna. He appreciated his Norwegian roots, a good game of croquet and was fond of Indian wrestling. He was writing a book based on his experiences on the farm called “Farm Boy.” His boundless enthusiasm, faith and trust in God, and zest for living and kindly spirit will be missed by us all. Bob loved his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He was an active member of Bethel Lutheran Church in Madison, WI and Good Shepherd by the Lake in Stoughton, WI. He also attended Church in Westby, WI, and helped with nursing home devotions. As he would say, “By the Grace of God and a good sense of humor.”
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Jeanne. He is survived by his daughters, Ruth Dreher (John Dreher) and Erica Araneta (Eric Araneta), grandchildren Paul Dreher, Sarah Dreher, Zayda Araneta and Anna Araneta, sister Joan Olson, nephews and nieces Earle Jefts, James Jefts, Richard Jefts, Alan Jefts, Martha Olson, Thomas Olson, Katie Whelchel, Kirsten Reitan, David Splitek, John Splitek, Paul Splitek, James Splitek, Anna Krowiorz, and Karen Cooper, Janet Myer, and Steve Baucom.
All are welcome for a visitation at the Burull home at E4282 Dodson Hollow Road, Chaseburg, on Wednesday March 17 from 4 to 7 p.m. with a prayer service at 5 p.m. Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Friday March 19 at East Side Cemetery in Stoughton. The Seland Funeral Home in Coon Valley is assisting the family. Condolences may be given at selandsfuneralhome.com.
We thank you for your prayers and support and love that you have shown our family. Donations on Bob’s behalf may be made to Grace & Truth Bible Chapel, Westby, WI; Good Shepherd by the Lake in Stoughton, WI; and the James Robert Burull Communications Scholarship Fund.
“So he answered and said, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and will all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27
To send flowers to James' family, please visit our floral store.