Larry Edwin Buchman was born Oct. 5, 1946. He became the son of Kenneth and Elizabeth Buchman in Harmony, N.J. They adopted him as a newborn and later when he was 60, his wife, Carolyn, found his birth mother and four brothers. But Larry grew up an only child on a peach farm with a father who taught him hard work. He worked in a bolt factory some summers and picked and sold peaches during most. He grew enough flowers in the garden to sell on the peach stand. He wanted a swimming pool, so Dad Buchman said, “Dig.” He got his pool. Larry was willing to work and did so all his life to support his family just like his father taught him.
Larry graduated from Belvidere High School and later graduated from West Virginia University with a bachelor’s degree in both English and art. Larry was hired as director of art in Preston County and taught there a short time, but was soon drafted into the army. He was luckily sent to Germany and not Vietnam. When he returned after
18 months, his job had been eliminated, at which time he applied for and got a job in Monongalia County schools. He taught school in Monongalia County for 29 years. After retirement in 2001 Larry substituted for 18 years. He became a well-known personality at University High School, where he spent most of his sub days. He loved the school and its students, calling them his kids. Those kids made him two wind chimes, one of which is at least seven feet long. He loved them and hung them in his studio. Larry was the epitome of kindness, which the kids soon found out. He claimed they liked him because he did not make them work extremely hard, but they said he respected them.
Larry met his wife, Carolyn, at Cheat Lake School, when both were teaching there. As the story goes, Larry had purchased a red Volkswagen Beetle in Germany and had it shipped home. Carolyn had traded her white Beetle for a red one. One day at school the kids in his art class asked if they could carry the glue bottles to his car. They put them in Carolyn’s instead of his. She called for him to come over to get them that evening. They were married about six months later. Larry and Carolyn were married Sept. 21, 1973, at Spruce Street United Methodist Church. They honeymooned for two days in Durbin, where they rode Cass Scenic Railroad to the top of the mountain, then returned to work the following Monday. Their dear, much anticipated daughter, Whitney Paige, was born in 1978 and soon became the center of their lives.
Larry traveled all over Monongalia County teaching art to hundreds of students in the many tiny schools there were then. He kept supplies in the basement and filled his car daily. He loved the cooks at every school who kept him fed with good old country cooking. He never complained about the traveling though it was hard, especially with the bad weather. He often scraped Carolyn’s windows during bad weather because he left first, which she found so kind.
Larry spent the evenings and weekends, when not in the garden, making and selling cut wooden plaques, beautiful iris folding cards, bookmarks, Christmas decorations and mini cards. During Christmas he participated in church bazaars where he spent most of his time chatting with the many people he knew. Larry had flower beds everywhere he lived. He could make rocks bloom. Carolyn mowed and he planted.
Larry is survived by his devoted wife of 48 years, Carolyn Kelly Buchman; his beloved daughter, Whitney Paige Barnett (Alan); his loving grandchildren, who teased him and kept him involved in life, Samuel Edwin Nine and Violet Grace Nine; step-grandchildren who came later but were much loved, Zachary Maxwell Barnett, Luke David Barnett, Jeremy Alan Barnett (Alexandra) and Danielle Lynn (Kam) Trapp; and step-great-grandchildren, Grayson, Beckett and Adalyn.
Larry’s New Jersey/Pennsylvania family meant the world to him. He grew up going to the lake for swimming and spending many hours with family and friends. They supported him by driving down to West Virginia for many life events. He loved them dearly. He is also survived by four brothers, who were surprised by a phone call one day that said, “Hey, I think I am your brother!” Kenneth Tuttle, now deceased (Betty), Richard Tuttle, Roy Waller (Debbie) and Ross Waller (Linda), quickly came to know and love Larry. Larry’s birth mother, Esther Marie White Tuttle, passed not long after he got to meet her. When Esther saw him, she said, “I did a good thing.” She had dementia but remembered giving Larry up.
Larry is predeceased by his dear parents Kenneth and Betty, his birth mother Esther Marie, his half-brother Kenneth Tuttle, his brother-in-law, Harvey Ralph Shrout, his mother-in-law Betty Kelly, father-in-law William W. Kelly and his birth father William Michael Lyons whom he did not locate until Ancestry.com came about. Unfortunately, William had passed at an early age.
Larry was devoted to his church from birth. He attended Avery Methodist Church and participated in the choir, Bible school, different committees and taught Sunday school at times. He loved the church and was called upon for many different activities, such as mission trips and doing art projects for Bible school. He was also an active member at Spruce Street United Methodist Church for many years.
Larry loved singing and participated in MacGlee for several years, singing in concerts with Ken Godwin. He sang to CDs in the car while driving to school. Larry also read the New York Times newspaper avidly and often laughed over the unusual obituaries. He was multitalented.
Larry had a group of friends called the Summerhill Sketchers, organized by Leslie Fehling, a special artist friend, which met once a month. Leslie and her lovely mother, Saundra, prepared a gourmet meal that was served after sketching or painting a lesson she had prepared. Larry enjoyed this and seldom missed a session. The work he produced was beautiful and the friends he made were invaluable. He was able to travel to Italy with this group at one time and never forgot the beautiful sites there. Carolyn always said they fed his soul. Their many gifts and cards during his illness kept him entertained. The mailbox and Zoom kept them connected.
Larry sadly left us Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021. He struggled with Acute Myeloid Leukemia for two years, but beat many odds by using new medications approved just when he needed them. He was blessed to have Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center close by. A clinical trial got him through half a year before he was switched to those newest meds, which gave him another 21 months, a long time in AML.
There were special friends and family in Larry’s life that kept him and Carolyn sane through the many months of chemotherapy. They are Carolyn’s sister, Pat Shrout and her girls, Kelly Jo, Tami Sue and Jamie Leigh. Carolyn’s college friends Mary Davis (Bill) and Mary K DeGarmo (Alan) checked in daily and prayed for them, all the while being there for special occasions. They thought of ways to help that no others would have imagined. Many thanks and much love go out to them and their families (Kathryn, Patrick and Michael). Carolyn’s brothers were family to Larry. They are William Kelly (Tammy) and children, Erica (Jeremy) Dalton and Andrea (Pete) Alan; Richard Kelly (Tina) and children Kyle (Carol) and Spencer (Mariah). There are also many great-nieces and great-nephews left to mourn his passing.
There was a graveside, family only ceremony. Larry was interred at Lawnwood Cemetery beside his mother and father with Pastor Jenny Williams providing words of comfort. Larry was the person who located and marked graves for others who would be buried there. He loved visiting the cemetery and keeping an eye on things. He went out during rain, snow, sleet, or hail.
Larry was a man of many talents. He was kind, hardworking and devoted to his family. That is what life is all about. Carolyn holds him fast in her heart. She loves reading “Outlander,” a novel by Diana Gabaldon.
This Scottish hand fasting ceremony found there epitomized their life together:
Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone,
I give ye my Body, that Two might be One
I give ye my Spirit, ‘til our Life shall be Done.
The Buchmans would like to thank every kind person at Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center. Dr. Kelly Ross, Dr. Michael Craig, Darah Kinzer, Sylvia Mcewuen, the nurses and aids are all outstanding people who listened as if they had nothing else to do to all of Larry’s many stories. The folks checking Larry into the center were wonderful as was the valet. Larry said they hired them only if it said they were nice on their resumes. They made this journey easier. There were so many cards and gifts sent to Larry over the time he was ill. He would want every person who sent a card or donated money to his care to be thanked 10 times over. The mailbox became his link to the friends he so loved.
Larry would have liked having a donation sent to Avery Methodist Church, 1152 Cheat Road, Morgantown, WV 26508, in his memory if anyone would choose to. Many thanks go out to the Rev. Jenny Williams, the pastor of Avery and the parishioners who provided food, cards, gift cards, visits and calls. The Amedysis nurses were wonderful when Larry became homebound. Many thanks go out to each nurse who helped provide palliative care.
Smith Funeral & Cremation Care of Westover/Morgantown has provided care and guidance to the family.