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Bob Burrows ’54

August 10, 2022

Cal was a place to “Grow Up”! Bob Burrows’ participation in fraternities (Beta Theta Pi), Civil Engineering and Chi Epsilon, Winged Helmet, Skull and Keys, Big C and Crew with Ky Ebright, Order of Golden Bear, ROTC (when most young men were avoiding the draft for the Korean War). That segued into a year in the Alaskan hinterlands building DEW support airfields, when never was so much heavy equipment entrusted to a “green second lieutenant”. Burrows is a strong believer in a “Public Service” two year stint for any Land Grant College graduate: military, peace corps, local volunteer.

Burrows passed up the invitation for a stint in the regular Army, became a civilian, and a General Contractor. He was hired out of the Army Corps of Engineers, in that same year Navy Seabees Lieut J.G, and a lieutenant from the US Marine Corp. “We could build ANYTHING!” And did at Williams and Burrows, Contractors: one of the largest in California. They joined a Japanese contractor, Takanaka (a fellow Young President Organization fellow) to build the Nikko Hotel in San Francisco: truly a “joint venture” with Mitsubishi our elevator and HVAC subcontractor.

Burrows likes wine. He and his then wife, Sara (née Zumwalt) made pretty good wine in their backyard in Ladera. Years later, he bought 110 acres of fir trees, on Howell Mountain, cleared much of it to plant Cabernet, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. They sold bunches of fruit, and made award winning Cabs: Liparita was our label. Fifteen years later, they sold the site to Jess Jackson (Cal, 1952), to anchor his Cardinale label with mountain top fruit.

Now, Burrows is living in Winston-Salem with his NC wife, Kathryn, an art curator of Wake Forest art collection. He does miss San Francisco and Napa. Barring Covid, he spends several weeks in the summer to return to long time friends.

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