Bob made himself tremendously useful with his time here among us, a generous man with a lasting impact on all who had the privilege to be touched by him and his example. He lived a life well spent, a life that mattered, a life that changed the lives of others. Bob’s life serves as a truly inspired testament to just how much impact one person can make.
— Jim Collins
Bob Buford, age 79, best-selling author, iconic pioneer and thought leader, died near his home in Dallas, Texas on April 18, 2018.
Founder of the Halftime Institute
In 1995, Bob Buford wrote Halftime, a best-selling book that came out of his mind and heart on how to find fulfillment in the second half of life. The amazing response to the book led to a follow-up title in 1997, Game Plan, which presented more about the endeavors in which Buford was involved as a result of his own “halftime” experience. The attention led to the founding in 1998 of the Halftime Institute.
As the Halftime Institute grew by coaching, teaching, and connecting marketplace leaders, Bob Buford continued to write. A third book, Stuck in Halftime: Reinvesting Your One and Only Life, came out in 2001. A new edition of Halftime was released in late 2008, along with Beyond Halftime, a collection of Buford’s musings on the things that matter most in moving from the pursuit of success in our first half to leaving a legacy in the second half. Next in 2014 was Finishing Well: What People Who Really Live Do Differently! a compilation of over 60 inspiring interviews threaded with Buford’s own experiences.
Bob Buford’s final and most recent book, Drucker & Me, published in 2014, is his personal story of his friendship with Peter Drucker (who is often referred to as the “father of modern management”) and the many lessons learned.
The Halftime Institute continues to serve high-capacity leaders from all over the world through its unique Fellows Program and Halftime One on One coaching. Its alumni are a distinguished group of men and women that includes, among others, bestselling authors and management consultants Jim Collins, Ken Blanchard, and Margie Blanchard, former USAA CEO Bob Davis, Mike Zafirovski of GE, Motorola, and Nortel, NFL football player Todd Peterson, Senator Dan Coates, and US military Admiral Edward Allen.
“Bob was a mentor and close friend,” says Dean Niewolny, CEO of the Halftime Institute since 2010. “It was an honor to work with him to establish an organization that will serve leaders from all over the world for many years to come. He truly finished well.”
Buford’s Ongoing Influence
Bob Buford influenced the culture of the organizations he founded until his dying day. His favorite question, “What can we do to be more useful to you?” remains an oft-asked question and one reason why both the Halftime Institute and Leadership Network are still growing after all these years.
Lloyd Reeb, a mentee of Bob Buford, author, and Halftime Institute Primary Spokesperson, shares, “Bob Buford took his business expertise, innovative thinking and entrepreneurial talent to address two of the most leveraged opportunities in our culture for real transformation. He brought business practices to social sector leaders and created pathways for talented business leaders to give back to society in meaningful ways. In his generosity, he taught us that the joy is in the results. He was intent on a “100X return” … one hundred times the benefit or life change, as a result of giving his time and money to meet human needs.”
Many well-known leaders point to Bob Buford’s influence on their lives
In 1988, Dick Schubert, Frances Hesselbein and Bob Buford convinced Peter Drucker to lend his name, his great mind, and occasionally his presence to establish an operating foundation for the purpose of leading social sector organizations toward excellence in performance. Bob served as the Founding Chairman of the Board of Governors for The Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, which is now The Frances Hesselbein Leadership Forum at the University of Pittsburgh. Bob also served as board chair of The Drucker Institute at Claremont University, a social enterprise whose mission is “strengthening organizations to strengthen society.”
Education and Family
Bob Buford is a graduate of The University of Texas and the Owner Management Program at Harvard Business School. He played active roles in Young Presidents’ Organization and World Presidents’ Organization. He is the recipient of numerous leadership and ethics awards.
Along with his many successes, Buford suffered many personal losses in life. His father died when Buford was in the fifth grade. His mother passed away in a tragic hotel fire when Buford was early in his career, leaving him to manage the family television business. He and his wife, Linda, lost their only child, Ross, who tragically drowned at age 24.
Bob Buford is survived by Linda Buford, his wife of 54 years and a brother, Geoffrey (Jeff) Buford of Tyler, Texas. He was pre-deceased by brother, Gerald (Jerry) Buford.
A private graveside service was scheduled for the days just after Bob Buford’s homegoing, and a public service will be arranged several weeks later, with details to be posted here when known.