Robert Vance Vanderburg was born in a small farm home to parents John Wesley Vanderburg and Sally Vance Marshall in Chicota, Texas November 8, 1930. Despite his humble beginnings, Vance’s 89 years of life embodied the American dream. Youngest of four children, he always looked up to his older siblings Marshall, Ray, and Mary Jane and the fact they finished college. He graduated from Chicota High School class of 48 with 11 graduates. Vance met his future wife Nancy Ann Buxton of 67 years at a college dance while attending Northeast Oklahoma A & M. Vance and Nancy were married May 24, 1952 in Miami, Oklahoma. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Business Administration. Over the next twenty years they welcomed five children John Marshall, Tracy Diane, Jennifer Jane, Adam Ayers and Lydia Lynn. After several years of providing valued accounting services for several Tulsa firms, the whole family moved to Port Harcourt, Nigeria in 1964. There Vance worked for Williams Brothers as administrative manager and internal auditor. Many a weekend Vance would take the family on village tours in the countryside experiencing and learning about local culture and traditions.Vance’s entrepreneurial spirit showed through his life including the purchase of Lee’s Bicycle shop, an old Tulsa business establishment since 1914. He grew Lee’s to larger locations along South Peoria, then decided to move to Eureka Springs, Arkansas where he and Nancy opened an outdoor recreation store on North Main Street. For many years, he and Nancy ran both businesses. Vance was a life long staunch Presbyterian and Elder, serving as treasurer in several of the churches he was member of during his lifetime. He also served on the Board of the National Ghost Ranch Foundation in Abiquiu, New Mexico.
When it came to Vance, you always knew where you stood. He was the ultimate tinkerer and builder. Despite all his successes, he always carried his country Texas twang and humble farming background. He so strongly believed in family and history he researched and documented his family’s genealogical record, identifying direct ancestral ties to relatives in the Civil and Revolutionary wars. He always took the opportunity to share with his kids and grand kids how they could be more successful. While he had no patience for professional sports, he loved the Oklahoma Sooners. One of his favorite times of the year was March Madness.
Vance is survived by his wife Nancy Ann and children: Marshall Vanderburg and wife Janine with grandchildren Jeanne and Jacqueline; Tracy Diane; Jennifer Campbell and husband Jim with grandchildren Peter, Andrew and Alison; Adam Vanderburg and wife Elaine Tinsley with grandchildren Moriah and Nicole; and Lydia Vanderburg and husband Scott Bartholomew. Memorial gifts can be sent to College Hill Presbyterian Church Tulsa, OK or Austin Presbyterian Seminary, Austin, TX.
Graveside services will be conducted at 2:00 PM Monday, March 16, 2020 in the Chicota Presbyterian Cemetery with Todd Freeman officiating.