James F. Buresh, 76

Retired Sears executive

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James Francis Buresh, 76, a resident of Agoura, California, and formerly of Brookfield, died Sept. 30, 2019, in California.

Mr. Buresh was born in Chicago on Oct. 30, 1942, and his family would later move to Brookfield, where they opened Frank Buresh's Lobster House on 31st Street. At the restaurant, he learned his strong work ethic, often peeling 100 pounds of potatoes before he could go out to play.

It was when he bartended a party there that he was smitten with Carole, who walked in and asked him for a ride back to college. The two were married a year later and they recently celebrated their 52nd anniversary. They were blessed with daughters, Kimberly and Jennifer. 

During the years the girls competed in swimming, Mr. Buresh not only attended their meets but also became an official, meet director and, ultimately, president of Illinois Swimming. 

Morgan McGraw joined the family when he married Jenny, and grandsons Miles James (named after Jim) and Jack Tenzin became the sunshine of his life. 

Mr. Buresh's high school years were spent at Culver Military Academy in Indiana, where he developed the leadership skills that would serve him well his whole life. He would become a steadfast and generous volunteer at Culver, serving on the Legion Board and chairing his 50th Class Reunion. For all his work on behalf of Culver, he was honored with the Samuel Coles Butler Award, citing his dedication, service and leadership. 

After Culver, Jim graduated from the University of Denver, where he served as president of Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity, and then finished law school at Denver and a business program at Duke. 

After law school, Jim and Carole Buresh moved back to Chicago to be near family. Mr. Buresh's career took him to Sears, Roebuck and Co., where he worked in corporate taxes for 23 years. 

While at Sears, he headed the legal, finance and taxation team that engineered the company's headquarter move to Hoffman Estates. Looking for a new challenge after taking early retirement from Sears, he moved to Southern California to become Western Regional Partner for Arthur Andersen's state and local tax practice, growing it tenfold, while always serving his clients with the highest integrity and forging enduring mentorships with countless people along the way. After the demise of Andersen, he retired from Deloitte. 

Throughout his life, Mr. Buresh served and chaired many organizations, including the Council on State Taxation (COST), the NYU Institute on State and Local Taxation and the Tax Executives Institute's State and Local Tax Committee. 

Of the many awards he received over his lifetime, he was most honored to receive the 2011 COST/Paul H. Frankel Excellence Award in State and Local Taxation, which recognized his deep talent and the tremendous role he played in changing the field of state and local tax. 

One of Mr. Buresh's greatest outside passions was baseball. After he ended his own playing days, he took up coaching, helping to lead a team to the 1965 Babe Ruth World Series.

As a spectator, he held Los Angeles Dodgers season tickets for 26 years, though he never gave up his love for the Chicago White Sox and deeply relished their 2005 World Series championship.

In retirement, he and Carole enjoyed traveling, experiencing places such as Russia, China and Cuba. A highlight for Mr. Buresh was riding in a 1928 Ford convertible in Havana.

He also took the time to keep in contact with so many people he'd known throughout his life and was renowned for his memory of stories and details that astonished everyone. 

Anyone wishing to leave a memorial to the place that meant so much to him, donations may be made to The Culver Foundation/Class of 1960 Fund, 1300 Academy Road #153, Culver, Indiana, 46511. There will be a celebration of life service in Los Angeles in January.

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