J. Don Buchanan

J. Don Buchanan

Yuma, Arizona

July 25, 1935 - May 31, 2016

J. Don Buchanan entered eternal life on May 31, 2016. He is survived by his beloved wife and soul mate of 60 years, Barbara Draper Buchanan, a daughter, Kim of Yuma, Ariz., and a son, Michael (Dina) of Longview, Wash.

He was born on July 25, 1935 to Edith Buchanan (Blackwell) and Joseph Buchanan in Burns, Ore. He was raised in Medford Ore., until moving to Eureka in 1950.

They have four grandchildren, David Paul (Kellie) of Eureka, Calif., Cara King (Jim) (Bill Lenhoff) of Eureka, Calif., Jeshua Buchanan of Medford, Ore., and Jaelyn Anderson (Cody) of Longview, Wash. They have ten great-grandchildren. He is survived by his sister Deana Hukill of Portland, Ore., and many nieces and nephews.

Don graduated from Eureka High School in 1953. He joined the Naval Reserves in 1954 and was given an Honorable Discharge in 1962. He worked for the Eureka and Arcata Safeways for thirteen years. He went on to work for Redwood Automotive while attending college to become a teacher. Teaching became the love of his life. He loved the students and the students loved him. He worked at Winship Middle School and Zane Middle School. In 1975 he received the “most Outstanding 9th Grade Teacher” award from Winship Middle School. Due to Measure 13 in California, he was laid off. Looking for a new teaching job took him, his wife, Barbara, and their son to The Dalles, Ore., where he found an outstanding job there in The Dalles High School. He taught Industrial Arts, mostly drafting, helped with Student Body Officers, was ski coach for four years and golf coach for 20 years. He was presented with a plaque for Teacher of the Year from The Dalles High School in the 1997-1998 school year. He lived and worked for 21 years in The Dalles. He loved his job, the people, the town and the weather.

Don and Barbara were active members of the Presbyterian Church while living in Eureka. After moving to The Dalles, Ore., they became active members of Gateway Presbyterian Church.

After retiring in 1998, they moved to Longview, Washington to be near their son and family. Don volunteered for six years for the Longview golf team because his grandson was playing golf. After his grandson graduated, he stayed on with the team just because he loved kids. Having spent many winters in Yuma, Ariz., they decided to make it their full time home in May of 2015.

Don and Barbara had three exchange students for a year while living in The Dalles whom they came to adore. Not wanting to lose contact with the students caused them to travel extensively around Europe. The students have returned to the U.S. several times to visit them. They both loved to travel, and had traveled through all fifty states, Canada, Europe, China and went on several cruises. Their bucket list was overflowing by the time Don became ill.

There will be no memorial because their children gave them a 50th Anniversary surprise production of many songs, many friends and lots of food in Eureka which they always said would be their memorial because it was a memory that never left their minds. It was well attended by friends and gave them many, many years of joy just thinking about it. Don is to be cremated and the ashes will be saved and mixed with Barbara’s sometime in the future before being placed at some special site. His was a life well lived.


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