Robert “Bob” Francis Buche died March 22 at his home. He was 92 years old.
He was born in Lake Andes, S.D. He attended Creighton University and the University of South Dakota. He then enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where he was a pilot during World War II.
He was the son of Gus Francis Buche, founder of GF Buche Co., and served as president of the South Dakota-based grocery company from 1955 until his retirement.
His grandson RF Buche took over as president of GF Buche Co. in 2000. Since his grandfather’s death, he has recorded several radio spots that pay tribute and share stories about him. In one, RF Buche talks about his grandfather flying over Gregory when he ran into bad weather. He couldn’t see the runway at the airport, so he landed on a highway instead. A local police officer gave him a “butt chewing” and a ticket for having an oversized vehicle on the highway.
In another radio spot, he tells the story about a promotional event his pilot grandfather came up with that involved dropping hundreds of ping-pong balls, each marked with special discounts, from a plane over each of the company’s Buche Foods stores. No one ever knew that RF Buche’s father, Bob Buche Jr., got airsick and “ended up losing his lunch over Presho.”
Each of the spots end in much the same way, with RF Buche saying, “I’ll always remember what he told me, ‘RF, taking care of our customers and our employees are the two most important things we can do. Thanks, Grandpa Buche.’ We’ll miss you.”
Bob Buche Sr. married Dorothy Fritz in 1942, and the couple had nine children. They lived primarily in Mitchell, S.D. until he retired to Arizona. Following Dorothy’s death, he wed Millie Dowling and indulged a lifelong passion for golf.
Memorials may be directed to the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center, P.O. Box 572, Lake Andes, S.D.