Dr. William Roderick Buchanan Jr. (1927 - 2018)

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  • "I'm sorry for your loss. I never met Dr. Buchanan, but I..."
    - Peter Buchanan, PA-C
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    - Joyce Ormiston-Conway
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    - Wendy Musiak
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    - Tim Gerdes
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Service Information
Kostanski Funeral Home
1 Kostanski Square
Turners Falls, MA

GREENFIELD - Dr. William Roderick Buchanan Jr. died March 21 at his home in Greenfield. He was 90.
Bill was a practicing pediatrician in Greenfield from 1956 to 1994, and could often be heard whistling through the halls of the Franklin and Farren hospitals. He was passionate about children and books, and one of his greatest joys was connecting his patients with books that would make them life-long readers. In his retirement, he spent time reading aloud to students at local elementary schools.
Born on June 20, 1927, he was the son of William Roderick Buchanan and Amie Miriam (Goodnow) Buchanan of Athol. He attended Athol Schools and played the trumpet in the Athol High School Marching Band. He was a member of the Boy Scouts of America, and attained the rank of Eagle Scout.
In 1948, he graduated with honors from Yale University. There, he studied ornithology and anthropology, two things that remained passions throughout his life. Following his graduation from Yale, he attended Harvard Medical School, where he also graduated with honors in 1952.
He had two tours of duty in the Navy. He spent some of his time typing catalog cards at the Library of Congress, and liked to brag about attaining a typing speed of 28 words per minute! He served again as a lieutenant after he graduated from Harvard.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Nancy Lee (Marshall) Buchanan formerly of North Wilmington and Gloucester, Mass. In addition, he is survived by his daughters, Jennifer Lawrence of Greenfield, Anne Buchanan Weiss of State College, Pa., and Jane Buchanan of Greenfield, and their partners; six grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren. Numerous international students became part of his extended family over the years giving him beloved sons and daughters from South and Central America, Africa, and Asia. He also leaves many devoted former patients, of whom he had very fond memories. He always enjoyed running into them around town, and keeping up with their life journeys.
He loved traveling, birding, music, studying Spanish, running, and biking. He was an avid cook, and a collection of his favorite muffin recipes was a best-selling fundraiser for the Friends of the Greenfield Public Library.
A third-generation Unitarian Universalist he was a devoted member of All Souls Church, Unitarian Universalist, in Greenfield. He was also a long-time member of the board of the Friends of the Greenfield Public Library, and a former chairman of the library's Board of Trustees. He could be found most Thursday mornings in the library basement sorting books for the Friends' many book sales.
At Bill's request, his body was donated to Harvard Medical School. A service celebrating his life will be held at All Souls Church, 399 Main Street, Greenfield on March 31 from 3 - 4. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to All Souls Church, 399 Main Street, Greenfield, MA 01301 or to the Friends of the Greenfield Public Library, 402 Main Street, Greenfield, MA 01301.
His daughter Anne, who used to sit and draw with him during her visits to Greenfield, drew his obituary portrait.
The family appreciates the Kostanski Funeral Home assisting with arrangements. Sympathy message available at www.kostanskifuneralhome.com.
Published in The Recorder on Mar. 23, 2018
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