Vernon George Buchanan
Vernon George Buchanan, 92, passed away Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018 in Orem, Utah, after a brief illness.
Vern was born on Nov. 13, 1926 in Challis, Idaho, to George Wenzel Buchanan and Edna Wuenschel. He graduated from Granite High School in Salt Lake City in 1944, after attending 13 different schools in various parts of the country because of his family’s frequent moves. He attended Oregon State University and the University of Utah.
On Oct. 25, 1946, he married Carolynn Fagg in the Salt Lake Temple, and together they raised six children. Carolynn passed away in 1976, and he then married Karen Hunt in 1977. Vern added a seventh child to the family when he adopted Karen’s daughter shortly thereafter. Following Karen’s death in 2015, Vern married Carolyn Ringger on the day before his 90th birthday in November 2016. He was loved dearly by his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and many extended family members.
Vern lived a life of hard work, spiritual commitment, love for his family, and service to other people. He had an inventive mind and a deep entrepreneurial spirit; he wasn’t afraid to take risks or try new things. In his early married life, he built many homes in the Salt Lake area, and he and Carolynn lived in ten houses in the first ten years of their marriage as they bought, renovated, and sold the properties.
Vern built several small businesses, from carpentry and cabinetry to specialty installations. He later entered the suit-and-tie world of business in microfilm and microfiche camera production. Vern had a reputation for being fair and honest in everything he did, and the people who worked for him always remembered him for his integrity.
Though many would think of Vern as a quiet person, he was a prolific writer of his own personal and family histories. Eventually he wrote 11 volumes of the different aspects of his life, including his parents’ history and growing up in rural Idaho, raising children, his various jobs and service projects, and even one volume called, “Laps of Memory: A Different Way to Write Your Personal History,” which he offered for sale in local shops.
Vern and Karen moved to Manti from Salt Lake in 1990 after Vern’s retirement, and together they built their home on 300 South. His grandparents had lived in Manti for many years, and Vern had spent time as a young boy visiting them.
He felt they could have an impact on a smaller community in their retirement, and quickly became active in both civic and church activities. Vern was a talented craftsman, and added special touches to the home they envisioned as a “gathering place” for family and friends.
Every year they grew a large garden in the backyard and shared the bounties of their garden with neighbors and family. Vern loved to care for his yard, and could be seen on his riding mower every week, even in the past few months.
Vern spent much of the past 28 years in service to the community and people of Manti. He and Karen dedicated eight years to leading the project to restore Manti’s Old City Hall. His craftsmanship is evident in the woodworking details, as well as the historical touches throughout the building, including the copper cupola that tops the structure.
Vern was active and dedicated to service in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He held many church callings, and with Karen served a mission to the England Bristol Mission from 1988-1989. Vern and Karen served as temple workers in the Manti Temple two days a week for eight years.
For the past 15 years, Vern served as the Stake Patriarch, providing hundreds of patriarchal blessings members of the Manti Stake, as well as many of his grandsons and granddaughters.
Since their marriage in 2016, Vern and Carolyn spent the last two years together actively involved with their Family Home Evening group, hosting dinners and lessons together every Monday evening. They generously opened their home to others in need, and hosted parties and a wedding in their garden.
Carolyn provided loving care and companionship for Vern in the last two years as his energy waned. “I’m slowing down a bit,” he often remarked, but he still continued to serve and provided patriarchal blessings until a few weeks before his passing.
Vern is survived by his wife, Carolyn, and his family members: Julie Ross (Brent), Gayle Boyle (Richard), Karl Buchanan (Kate), Jan Christensen (Que), Merrilee Buchanan (Gary), Scott Buchanan (Celeste), Jennifer Buchanan, Eric Ringger (Kristi), Kevin Ringger (Laurie), Kent Ringger (Krista) Monica Bambrough (Blaine), Hans Ringger (Elin). Siblings include William Buchanan, Juanita Edvalson, and Douglas Buchanan (Sylvia). Vern leaves behind 45 grandchildren, 41 great-grandchildren, 1 great-great-grandchild, and as well as dozens of nieces, nephews, and extended family members.
Funeral services will be held Friday, Dec. 21, 2018, at the Manti 6th Ward Chapel, 295 S. Main Street, in Manti. Visitation and viewing will be held at the same chapel on Thursday evening, Dec. 20, from 6-8 p.m., and 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Friday, with services at 11 a.m. Visitors are kindly requested to refrain from using scented perfumes or lotions because of family members’ chemical sensitivities.
A brief graveside service and interment will be at the Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, 3401 E. Highland Dr., Salt Lake City, at 3:30 p.m.
The family would like to thank the many friends, family members, neighbors, ward members, and care providers who visited and cheered Vern during his final days. We are all deeply grateful.