Golf 03

Robert Lee Burchette Jr.

August 12, 1936 ~ November 8, 2021 (age 85)


Robert Lee Burchette, Jr., 85, died on November 8th, 2021 at his home in Bluffton, SC after a recent period of illness. He passed away while asleep in the early morning hours with the comfort of his devoted wife, Gail England-Burchette, at his side. Those who were privileged to know Bob, whether longtime friends or new, will be encouraged to know that he smiled into his very last days and died quietly and peacefully. This is so fitting, as the pursuit of peace was a fruit of the Spirit which defined him throughout his life. 

Bob was born in Gainesville, GA on August 12th, 1936 to Robert Lee Burchette, Sr. and Ruby Griffen Burchette. As a child growing up in Spartanburg, SC, Bob showed keen intellectual and mechanical aptitudes. He thrived on service and curiosity in his youth, which led him to join the Boy Scouts where he earned his Eagle Scout badge. These same qualities helped launch a career in technical innovation among Spartanburg’s then-booming textile industries. He was recruited by Milliken Research in 1958, where he developed a number of mechanical patents for textile and packaging machinery. 

From 1962 to 1965 Bob ran an independent photoelectric timing operation, and built photoelectric timing equipment that he sold to numerous race tracks across the South East. In 1964 Bob founded Plastic Injectors Incorporated, a fledgling startup that would eventually become a globally-recognized innovator in plastic injection molding technology serving the medical, fiber optic, golf, automotive and lighting industries. Unlike his competitors, Bob devised an in-house machine shop to construct his own manufacturing tooling, which enabled paper concepts to become operational realities in mere weeks. With advancements like this, he grew the business from a single machine to a 125,000sf industrial plant with dozens of machines and over 300 employees. Over the years Bob developed and received 33 manufacturing and process patents in multiple countries throughout the world. Although a humble businessman, he was proud to have prevailed in 100% of legal challenges to his patent rights and intellectual property. Bob was a graduate of many professional school programs, including but not limited to Dale Carnegie Management, General Motors Institute of Technology, General Electric Plastics Design Engineering, and Industrial Laser Engineering.

Bob made many lifelong friends along the way, who recount his rare and enviable constitution which served him so well. Most especially, how he deftly merged his intellectual and competitive mind with an otherwise genteel spirit and of course…his trademark agreeable nature. 

Beyond his business interests, Bob enjoyed a number of life’s active pursuits. In his early years he was an avid snow skier, even arranging chartered Boeing aircraft to ferry the Greenville Ski Club to fresh Colorado snow. He enjoyed boating, automobiles, and was an accomplished private pilot with over 5,000 hours in multiple performance aircraft, most notably his own 690A Twin Commander. 

Some say golf is life. And for much of Bob’s adult life, he enjoyed and pursued the game of golf, with which he excelled. He was honored to win many club championships and tournaments with and among his closest friends. His deep love of golf led him to chase fair weather and eventually split his time between several Clubs, most recently Boca Grove Country Club in South Florida, Linville Ridge Country Club in the North Carolina mountains, and his permanent residence at Palmetto Bluff in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Even after the sun went down and the courses were closed, you might find Bob in his garage workshop, tinkering with and modifying his golf clubs, ever the mechanic and inventor.

While he enjoyed recreation, he was a man of kindness and a devout Christian marked by service to others. In addition to serving in leadership with Bethel Methodist Church, Bob served in the South Carolina National Guard from 1959-1969. He was a Master Mason for 63 years as a member of the Arcadia 285 Lodge in Spartanburg, as well as a member of the York Rite Bodies. He was a Shriner and member of the Hejaz Shrine Temple in Greenville, SC. Additionally, he was also a longtime volunteer and benefactor to the Crossnore School and Orphanage in Crossnore, NC, a 20-year contributor to the Piedmont Sertoma Workshop for Handicapped Children, and an annual Clemson University Scholarship benefactor for 27 years. 

Bob is survived by his wife, Gail England-Burchette of Bluffton, SC, a brother Joe Burchette of Spartanburg, SC, four sons, Gregory Lee Burchette of Spartanburg, SC, Christopher England and his wife (Leah) of Bluffton, SC, Jordan England and his wife (Anne) of Jacksonville, FL, Matthew England of Jacksonville, FL, and 5 grandchildren, Kursten Burchette, Thomas England, Elizabeth England, Jane England and Charlotte England. He also leaves behind his beloved dog, Grace. 

Bob will be remembered at a celebration of life service at 11:30am on Friday, November 12th at the May River Chapel at Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, SC with lunch following on the chapel grounds. A private burial will follow at Six Oaks Cemetery on Hilton Head Island. Sauls Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

Bob’s family would like to extend a special thanks to caregivers Tania Luna, Kat Schuman, Malinda Blackshaw, Zumiko Medina, and Debbie Singleton, Pastors Carl Martin and Bill McCutchen, and the Palmetto Bluff Women’s Discipleship Group.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Memory Matters of Hilton Head. 



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