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Richard Burau

Richard Burau peacefully succumbed to complications from diabetes with his family at his home on April 20, 2007. He was 76.

Son of George and Mabel Burau, Richard was born and raised on a dairy farm near Fergus Falls, MN. He served on the front lines during the Korean War as a sergeant in the army where his primary duty was to establish communications between infantry and artillery units. After his discharge from the army, Richard attended the University of Minnesota and completed his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in soil chemistry. Richard, with his wife Janet, and two young sons, Jon and Jim, moved from Minnesota to Davis in 1963 where he joined the faculty of UC Davis as a professor in soil science.

In his position as professor at UC Davis, Richard loved teaching: he especially enjoyed explaining complex ideas and interacting directly with students. In addition to numerous contributions to the field of soil chemistry, he served as chair of the Yolo County Technical Review Panel and was appointed director of the Monterey Basin Pilot Monitoring Project, one of the first environmental monitoring programs of its kind, by then Governor Ronald Reagan. Richard retired from the University in January 1993, after 31 years at UC Davis.

Richard also loved photography and spent many hours chronicling family events such as cross-country camping trips in the family station wagon to Minnesota, vacations to Tahoe, and his trips to Europe, Greece, Australia and New Zealand with Janet, his wife of 52 years.

Richards wisdom, dignity, storytelling, and love will be missed by his wife Janet; his sons Jon Burau of Davis and Jim Burau of Woodland; their wives Cheri Burau of Davis and Yvonne Burau of Woodland, and his grandsons Sean and Ian of Davis and Evan and Dylan of Woodland. He is also survived by brothers Gerald Burau of Fergus Falls, MN, Duane Burau of Grayslake, IL, and David Burau of Lake Elmo, MN, their wives, and numerous nieces and nephews.

There will be a family celebration of his life. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made in Richards name to the American Diabetes Association Memorial Program, PO Box 2680, North Canton, OH 44720.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Richard Burau, please visit our flower store.


Janet, Leila called and told us of Dick's death. We are sorry to hear of it and our thoughts are with you and all the family. Sincerely Joan & Larry

Larry & Joan Johnson Apr 27 2007 12:00 AM

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Anne and Jeff Gartner

Jeff Gartner Apr 27 2007 12:00 AM

I was very sadden to hear of the loss of Dr. Burau. He truly was one of the finest men I have ever know. I admired his gentle ways.I was the academic advisor/counselor in the LAWR dept. for 23 years (just retired 3 years ago)I worked closely with Dr. Burau on various teaching projects. He cared greatly for the student's research and their educational goals. Always a kind man, very knowlegable in his field of soil science. I will miss him tremendiously and am sure the family will also. My best to you all. Sincerely, Diane

Diane Sires-Swindall Apr 26 2007 12:00 AM