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Rivers Buford

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Rivers Buford Obituary
Rivers Henderson Buford, Jr.

Rivers Henderson Buford, Jr. died January 3, 2016 surrounded by his family at Big Bend Hospice. He was born at home at 416 North Calhoun Street on June 14, 1927. Growing up he loved music of all kinds and learned many song lyrics that he sang to entertain friends. While at Leon High School he worked as an usher at the State and Florida Theaters and as a soda jerk at Fein's Drug Store serving flavored soda water at the fountain.
Rivers enlisted in the Army Air corps Reserve, July 17, 1944 and received an Honorable Discharge May 14, 1945 upon discontinuation of the Aviation Cadet program. He enlisted Active Duty in the Navy 1945-46 and enlisted inactive, Naval Reserve 1947-52. He was Commissioned in the Naval Reserve 1957 – June 14, 1987 retiring with the rank of Commander.
Rivers joined the Kappa Alpha Fraternity at The University of Florida on August 5, 1947 and received his Bachelor of Laws Degree July 22, 1950. He was a proud and loyal Florida Gator football fan.

He was a member of the Florida Bar since 1950 and served as a President of the Tallahassee Bar Association. He received his 50 Year Silver Dish in Boca Raton, Florida in 2000. Appointed Judge, then elected, Leon County Claims Court 1952-56; General Counsel to the Florida Board of Education 1969-72; Senior Attorney, Department of Transportation 1987-90; Assistant Attorney General 1966-69; 1985-87; 1990-03.
Rivers was active in Tallahassee Little Theater as both actor and board member. He appeared in God's Favorite and The Oldest Living Graduate and many more productions. He also made television commercials and a movie with the FSU film school. Rivers enjoyed ""messing about"" with classic and outboard motors and boats. With membership in the Florida Chapter of AOMCI for many years he exhibited at and visited boat shows at Mt. Dora, FL and Clayton, NY.

Rivers, an only child, was predeceased by his parents: Justice and Mrs. Rivers H Buford, Sr.: Justice Buford served as a Representative in the Florida Legislature; and as The Attorney General of the State of Florida. He retired as Justice of the Florida Supreme Court after 20+ years and serving twice as Chief Justice. Mrs. Buford (Mary Hollingsworth) had a long career retiring as head of the Speech and Drama Department at Florida State College for Women (FSU).

Rivers is survived by his son, Rivers H. Buford, III (wife Jean), daughter Mary Kathryn Buford (fiancé Howard M. Huckaby), all of Tallahassee and daughter Margaret Ann Buford Finnell of Winter Park, Florida. He is also survived by four grandchildren: Kathryn Elizabeth Buford of Tallahassee, Taylor, Amanda and Spencer Finnell, all of Winter Park, Florida.

Rivers is survived by his wife Barbara Taylor, and children Patricia Taylor (husband Joe Shu) of Atlanta, Laurie Taylor Ravkind of Houston, and Jeff Taylor, Jr., (wife Gigi) of Tacoma. Six grandchildren Meghan Stewart of Los Angeles, Marshall Corry (wife Karen) of Atlanta; Suzanne and Hailey Ravkind of Houston; Blake and Linda Taylor of Tacoma. Two great grandchildren Rowan Corry of Atlanta; and Freyja Taylor of Tacoma.

Rivers was ordained and installed a Deacon at First Presbyterian Church of Tallahassee on January 2, 1955. He became a member of St John's Episcopal Church in the 1970's, and at that altar, in ceremony by then Rector Lee Graham, Jr., he and Barbara were married almost 40 years ago. Rivers worshipped and attended regularly Wednesday chapel noon day healing service; Sunday 8 o'clock church service; followed by round table Bible study and discussion in Alfriend Hall. His contributions were witty, brief Bufordisms. He loved this church group where he deepened his spiritual faith and learned from and highly regarded each member.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulations presented Rivers with a plaque in appreciation of his dedicated service to the Board of Pilot Commissioners and the Citizens of the State of Florida for the years 2003 through 2010. He enjoyed this work and working with these fine men and women. During these later years he was appointed to serve as a Commissioner on the Board. This work would lead Rivers into retirement. Traveling to and visiting almost all of the ports of call from Nova Scotia & New York in the northeast down the east coast to Miami, through the Panama Canal, and up the west coast San Diego, to Astoria, Seattle and Alaska and back again to many. He went by rickshaw, taxi, town car, cruise line, bus, train, or plane always, and everywhere keeping company with the very Best People On Earth.

Thank you Drs. J. Allee and Harold Logan Brooks, Jr., excellent Co-Pilots for many years of Rivers' extensive medical team.
A Memorial Service will be held Saturday, January 9, at 1:30pm at the Elks Lodge, 276 Magnolia Drive, Tallahassee, Florida.
Donations may be made to the Elks Harry-Anna Trust Fund, c/o Tallahassee Elks Lodge.


Published in Tallahassee Democrat on Jan. 7, 2016
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