Wayne "Bookie" Buchenberger
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Wayne "Bookie" Buchenberger, 77 of Evansville passed away at 1:40 am, Monday, March 3, 2014 at his home.
Bookie was born August 28, 1936 in Evansville. He was a 1954 graduate of Central High School.
After graduation, he worked for 7 years for Chrysler Motor Corp., relocating with them to St. Louis. After returning to Evansville, he was a 36-year member of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Union Local 136.
Bookie is known as one of the most popular entertainers in the area going back to the legendary Blue Bar of the 50's where he played the sax alongside the late Boots Randolph. Bookie admitted he got into the entertainment field almost by accident. "When I was 20 or 21, I bought a saxophone from Boots Randolph and I've been making noise ever since."
Bookie's career spanned over six decades. Just a few of the local clubs he played were the Hotel Vendome, Copy Bar, Rustic Inn, Hotel McCurdy, house band at the Executive Inn, Orchid Lounge, the Coachman, Bookie's Donjon, and the Eagles Country Club, Hoosier Lounge and Blush Ultra Lounge at the Tropicana.
Highlights of his career include a 1967 Department of Defense tour entertaining service personnel in the Caribbean Islands, where he "stole the show" according to the late Courier & Press columnist Bish Thompson. Bookie also played many top clubs around the U.S. and backed many recording sessions in Nashville. He especially enjoyed playing at the Sahara Tahoe in Lake Tahoe in the late 60's with gold record winning vocal entertainer Rusty Draper.
While playing with the house band in the showroom of the former Executive Inn he backed up such stars as the Ink Spots and other nationally recognized performers.
Many Thunder fans will remember the tradition of Bookie playing his soulful rendition of "Ole Man River" during the opening ceremonies every year at the Freedom Festival's Thunder on the Ohio, which inspired him to record "Bookie on the Ohio", an album of original and traditional river songs.
He was a member of the Eagles Country Club, a lifetime member of the Order of the Owls, and was president of the Bellemeade/Bayard Parks Neighborhood Association.
Wayne "Bookie" Buchenberger was preceded in death by his parents Wilmer James and Mildred Marie (Edmondson) Buchenberger.
He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Pam (Cundiff) Buchenberger; son Darren (Donna) Buchenberger; daughter Darla (David) Johann; sister Jan (Bill) Thuerbach; sisters-in-law Bootsie Martin; Barbara (Bob) Hollis; brothers-in-law Ronald (Linda) Cundiff; Darrel (Sue) Cundiff; grandchildren Scott and Rachel Johann; Eric, Breanna, and Tasha Buchenberger; and many loving nieces and nephews, who were very special to Uncle Bookie. He will also be remembered by his beloved dogs, Luther and Max.
The family would like to thank Dr. William Hardesty, Dr. Anthony Stephens, and Ally and Dan and many others with VNA/Hospice.
Services to celebrate his life will be held at 1 pm, Friday, March 7, 2014 at Boone Funeral Home East Chapel - 5330 Washington Avenue, Evansville with Chaplain Joe Foster officiating. Burial will be in Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery.
Friends may call from 2 pm until 7 pm, Thursday, March 6, 2014 at Boone Funeral Home - East Chapel and again from 11 am until time of service at 1 pm, Friday.
Memorial Contributions may be made to Vanderburgh County Humane Society, PO Box 6711, Evansville, IN 47719 or Warrick County Humane Society, 5722 Vann Rd., Newburgh, IN 47630.
Condolences may be made to the family online at boonefuneralhome.net
Boone Funeral Home - Evansville
5330 Washington Avenue Evansville, IN 47715
Published in Courier Press on Mar. 5, 2014