Robert (Bob) Burruss

Obituary of Robert (Bob) Albert Burruss

Family and friends are mourning the loss of a beloved husband, father, grandfather, mentor, teacher, coach, and friend, Robert (Bob) Albert Burruss who passed away with his loved ones at his side in Capitola, California on February 25th, 2024. 


Bob was born in Santa Monica, California but spent the happiest years of his life raising his family in Salinas, California and later in his retirement on the North Umpqua River, Oregon. Bob earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and teaching credential from San Jose State University and spent the entirety of his teaching career (1970-1997) at Salinas High School where he was a gifted teacher in woodshop, pottery, drafting, yearbook and also a respected football coach. Known simply as “Coach” to many students, Bob had a significant impact on thousands of young lives throughout his career. He took great pride in empowering students and players and showing them their true potential. 


Following retirement, Bob combined his passion for teaching with his love of fly-fishing and worked as a fly-fishing guide on the Umpqua River. He taught anglers the joy and secrets of catching steelhead on the North Umpqua River. His popular guide trips were described in Fly Rod & Reel magazine and John Gierach’s book, Fool’s Paradise. 


Bob loved his life on the river and painstakingly built every inch of the family’s beautiful home on the river while Barbara built the foundation of every experience inside the home. When he wasn’t fishing, you could find him throwing clay in his custom pottery studio or restoring his 1952 Chevy truck. In 2020, he and Barbara moved to Capitola to be closer to family and the care of physicians at Stanford Hospital. In 1978, Bob underwent a double bypass surgery and is believed to have been the longest surviving person of this surgery. Like the lessons he imparted to his family and students, Bob persevered through the setbacks of life and never lost sight of what he valued the most, his family.


Bob will be remembered for his brilliant mind, artistic talent, and hilarious story telling ability. He made an indelible imprint on everyone who knew him. His legacy of love, wisdom and unforgettable “Burruss-isms” will endure through his family, friends, and generations of students and players. His total devotion to his soulmate Barbara and his three daughters will be cherished forever.


Bob is survived by his wife of 60 years, Barbara, his three daughters Cheri Burruss (Kent) Wiley, Michele Burruss (Joe) Sherer, Nicole Burruss (Eric) Fleck, brother Richard Burruss, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.


In honor of Bob, the family asks that you toast a margarita on your favorite river to Bob, make a donation to Hospice or Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter, or send your condolences and favorite memories to Barbara Burruss at P.O. Box 962 Capitola, CA 95010. You can also view his obituary and make comments at The family will be holding a small, private celebration of life at a later time.