Henry Lester Buchanan, 85, a resident of Sedro-Woolley, passed away at his home on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 and is now strolling with the angels.
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He was born on June 21, 1927 in Sylva, North Carolina, son of William and Mary (Green) Buchanan, and was raised and attended school in Silvana Township, NC.
In 1944 at the age of 17, Henry enlisted in the Merchant Marines, and served his country during WWII. After an honorable discharge in 1947, he helped move his future sister-in-law from North Carolina to the Skagit Valley. While doing so, he met the love of his life, Thelma Louise Blanton, who had recently moved with her family to Washington State.
Henry and Louise were united in marriage in Lyman in 1948. They made their home there for 10 years until moving to Sedro -Woolley in 1958. In 1965 the Buchanan's moved to Burlington, continuing to raise their family until returning to Sedro-Woolley in 1981.
Henry worked in the timber industry as a logger and in saw mills until 1959 when he started working for the Snelson Construction Company as a heavy equipment operator and truck driver. He retired in 1989 after 30 years of service.
Henry became an ordained Deacon at Hamilton Baptist Church on Father's Day, June 19, 1960. He and Louise were instrumental in establishing the Valley Baptist Church in Sedro-Woolley, where Henry was Chairman of the Building Committee and served as a Deacon for 45 years.
Henry loved the great outdoors, often taking Sunday afternoon drives in the foothills of the Cascades. He was an avid hunter and fisherman in his early years, instilling this love and appreciation of nature's gifts to his children and grandchildren.
Henry's gardens and tomato crops were the envy of neighbors and all who saw them, and he was always willing to share a few of his prize onions and tomatoes with friends and family.
Henry and Louise spent many years as "snow birds", traveling to and from Arizona with siblings. They enjoyed basking in the warm sun, exploring the local attractions and making many fond memories.
Henry is survived by Louise, his loving wife of 64 years, at their home in Sedro-Woolley; daughters, Janice Jensen and husband Ron of Marysville and June Snelson and husband Greg of Anacortes; six grandchildren, Michelle (Brian) Johnson of Everett, Wade (Wendi) LaFontaine of Stanwood, Jessica Snelson (Aaron) of Guemes Island, Vance Snelson of Mercer Island and Amanda Snelson (Jason) of La Conner, and five great-grandchildren, Brandon and Brooklyn Johnson; Samantha, Ashley and Austin LaFontaine and Aayla Belle Peterson. Additionally, three brothers, Richard (Evelyn) Buchanan of Sedro-Woolley, Olen (Jolene) Buchanan of Sylva, NC and Jim (Becky Sue) Buchanan of Bryson City, NC; his sister, Erma (Elmer) Jones and sister-in-law Frances Buchanan all of Sylva, NC. Brothers/Sisters-in-law: Joan Blanton of Hamilton, Pauline Wyatt of Yakima, Ernest Blanton of Bend, OR, and Ed and Judy Blanton of Sedro-Woolley; as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Clyde and William and infant daughter, Lawana.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Valley Baptist Church in Sedro-Woolley on Saturday, January 5, 2013 at 1:00 PM with Pastor Harold Thornbrough officiating.
Henry/Daddy/Papa/Papa-Great/Brother/Uncle Henry/Grandpa was the cornerstone of his family, always available to share words of love, kindness and wisdom. He touched many lives, had many friends and never had an enemy. He will be missed by all who had the privilege to know him.
The family would like to give special thanks to the Sedro-Woolley Fire Department and Medics who responded in our time of need with love, compassion and caring.
Memorials are suggested to the Valley Baptist Church Building Fund.
Services and cremation arrangements are under the direction of Lemley Chapel, Sedro-Woolley. Share memories of Henry and sign the online guest registrar at www.lemleychapel.com
1008 Third Street Sedro Woolley, WA 98284
Published in Skagit Valley Herald Publishing Company on Dec. 30, 2012