Gary Eugene Buchanan, 69, of Haughton, LA bid us farewell for the last time on October 11, 2023 after a brief and sudden illness. He was at home, surrounded by his beloved family.
Gary was born on September 12, 1954 at Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta, GA to CMSgt. James C. Buchanan and Mildred Pugh Buchanan, the second of two sons. Gary, even as a young child, could be easily spotted in a crowd by his fiery red hair, especially as an infant living in Okinawa, Japan.
A ‘military brat’, Gary frequently told stories of the places his father was stationed in the U.S. Air Force, reminiscing about the beauty of Charleston, SC or the cold, snowy winters of France, often wondering what became of the childhood friends he made there. That was the thing about Gary – he genuinely cared deeply about others, whether they were people he saw frequently or acquaintances from a lifetime ago.
While he lived in a number of locales growing up, eventually settling in Bossier City, LA with his wife, Diane and daughter Erin, Alabama was where Gary called ‘home.’
Gary was a true storyteller. If you spent enough time around him, you’d hear cherished tales of his childhood – especially of hijinks involving his older brother Mitchell and a host of cousins in Alabama. He had a way with words, a witty sense of humor, and an incredible talent at making you feel like you’d actually experienced these events with him.
His mind often wandered to memories of the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, where he spent time on the farm of his paternal grandparents. He also regaled his family of humorous tales of his maternal grandmother in Selma, AL.
Gary loved deeply and genuinely, and coming in second only to his love for his family was his passion for music. Music filled his life, flowed through his veins, and provided a colorful career that spanned more than 45 years. He treasured his time playing on the road with Claude King in the early 1980s, as well as his time with bluegrass bands Southern Breeze and County Switch. In addition to guitar and stand-up acoustic base, he was an incredibly gifted harmonica player and songwriter. He adored the times when he visited his father in Alabama and they were able to make music together.
Gary’s career also included being a master woodworker, crafting countless pieces of furniture, cabinets, tables, and other beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces over the years. He gifted many of those to family members and those items will forever be cherished.
A true treat was when Gary put pen to paper and created one of his numerous drawings, most of which were set in rustic locations that were special to him throughout his life. He never made a career of being an artist, though he certainly could have.
He married Diane Walpole in 1977, and they welcomed their daughter Erin in 1983. Gary embodied what you’d expect from a proud father, involved in every aspect of Erin’s education and extracurricular activities. He was a steadfast figure in his daughter’s life, instilling in her a sense of independence and strong will. His absence will always be felt.
Marriage isn’t easy, but Gary and Diane made it work for 46 years, complimenting each other’s personalities. Gary often joked that Diane kept him grounded, as he was a real dreamer at heart. The two held each other up during difficult times and celebrated together during times of joy – including the births of their two grandchildren. He lived with a kind and compassionate heart, which must explain why animals seemed to flock to him. Gary is no doubt tossing a Frisbee with his beloved dog Max, among the many other pets he cared for over his lifetime.
Gary also told many fond stories of his years participating in Civil War reenacting, where he made lifelong friendships. He loved model cars, walks among nature, his front porch, and a good nap. He was fascinated by the mystery of Bigfoot and enjoyed a great ghost story. Most recently, his favorite past times were picking up his granddaughter Landry from kindergarten and rocking his grandson Lucas in his recliner.
He was welcomed in Heaven by his beautiful mother, Mildred, as well as several aunts and uncles. Left to cherish his memory are his father James Buchanan (wife Charlotte), wife Diane and daughter Erin Mills (husband Curtis) and grandchildren Landry and Lucas, brother Mitchell Buchanan (wife Katie), seven nieces and nephews, numerous cousins, aunts and uncles, long-time friends and fellow musicians with whom he has shared countless stages.
The family would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the crew from Bossier Parish Emergency Medical Services, who worked so hard to bring our precious Gary back to us. Their efforts will forever be appreciated.
A celebration of life service will be held on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. at Full Gospel Temple, 5606 Buncombe Road, Shreveport, LA 71129. The service will be officiated by Pastor Gerry Woolman.
In lieu of flowers, play your favorite song, think of our Gary, and hug your loved ones tightly. We just never know how much time we have left with each other.