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Bruce Proctor Buchanan

Bruce Proctor Buchanan

August 31, 1940 - April 6, 2019     Age: 78

Bruce Proctor Buchanan, 78, of Fernandina Beach, FL, passed away Saturday, April 6, 2019.  Born August 31, 1940, in Pittsburgh, PA, he was a son of the late Edward and Jeanne McFarland Buchanan.

Bruce was a dentist as a commissioned officer in the US Navy serving in North Africa, and later a periodontist in private practice in Marietta, GA, from 1971 until his retirement in 1996.  He was a 1962 graduate of Washington and Jefferson College, Washington, PA, where he was class President, President of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, Interfraternity Council President and Captain of the swim team.  Bruce received his D.D.S. from the University of Illinois in 1966 and was a member of Delta Sigma Fraternity.  After dental school, he served in the US Navy at Groton, CT, and Morocco, North Africa, honorably discharged with the rank of Lieutenant.  He went on to Tufts University in Boston, MA, for specialty training in periodontics.  Bruce was active with the Georgia Dental Association as Speaker of the House for 5 years and a delegate to the American Dental Association. He was Vice President of the GDA before being elected GDA President in 1988. Bruce and his wife, Lee, relocated from the Atlanta area to Amelia Island in 2000.

Bruce had a lifelong love of sports.  He was an accomplished amateur triathlete who competed in numerous regional and national events over two decades.  From 1983 to 2006, Bruce competed in sixteen Ironman World Championship races in Kona, HI (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run), placing among the top 5 finishers in his age group thirteen times and winning his age group seven times.  At age 52, Bruce broke his own age group world record and was the first amateur over age 50 to complete the Kona course in under 10 hours.  The feat garnered him recognition in the December 22, 1992, issue of Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd.”  During his two decades of competition he was the only person ever to earn overall Triathlete of the Year (1992), Master Triathlete of the Year (1996) and Grandmaster Triathlete of the Year (2001) from USA Triathlon, the sport’s governing body. He was at once a fierce competitor and a cherished friend, mentor, and teacher, freely sharing his time and insights with veterans and newcomers to the sport alike.

Bruce retired from triathlon competition in 2006 but remained active with swimming, yoga and weight lifting at the local McArthur Family YMCA.  He cultivated many close and dear friendships among the members and staff at the YMCA.  Bruce’s volunteer work with the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival as a page turner for visiting pianists reignited his passion for classical music and he resumed the piano at age 63. He held frequent recitals and loved to play his cherished Yamaha grand piano for friends and guests.

Bruce is survived by his wife, Lee Ann Donelson Buchanan; brother, Edward R. “Buck” Buchanan (Mauri), The Villages, FL; son, Mark Bradley “Brad” Buchanan (Jennifer), grandsons Dylan and Evan Buchanan, Roswell, GA; daughter, Stacey Woolley (Ben), Acme, Alberta, Canada; grandson, David Woolley, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; granddaughter, Jessica Woolley, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and his three beloved golden retrievers, Stella, Opus and Oliver.

Memorial services will be held April 26, 2019, at 1:00 pm at Oxley Heard Funeral Home, 1305 Atlantic Ave., Fernandina Beach, FL.

 A reception will follow services from 2:00 to 3:30 pm at Story and Song Bookstore, 1430 Park Ave at 14th Street, Fernandina Beach, FL.   In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to McArthur Family YMCA, 1915 Citrona Drive,  Fernandina Beach, FL, for the local aquatics program.

9 Condolences

  • Karen Klima Posted April 8, 2019 11:42 am

    April 8, 2019. For five years Bruce practiced yoga with me and our YMCA class. We also shared the joy of swimming and music. He was cherished by us all -for his love of life and his many accomplishments. We will remember him today in yoga class, laying out a mat with candles and flowers and reading from Ulysses by Alfred Lloyd Tennyson:

    Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
    One equal temper of heroic hearts,
    Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
    To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

  • Susan Rodriguez and McArthur YMCA Posted April 10, 2019 8:04 am

    The YMCA and your pool buddies and I will truly miss you. Sympathy and Prayers and Love to you Lee and Family,

  • Stephanie Donelson & Family Posted April 15, 2019 9:34 pm

    Hi Uncle Bruce,
    I miss you so much. I am happy you are without pain now and I will always be thinking of you along with grandma & grandpa. I’m blessed you were able to meet my fiancé and son. I know you are looking down from above watching over us, Aunt Lee Ann, the doggies & your family/friends. You were and always will be the coolest uncle I ever had. 10 years ago you came inside from the bonfire at Aunt Ruth’s house to talk to Leslie, Russ & I; talk about life and make jokes. We thought it was so memorable that you’d want to talk and hangout with us instead of all the “adults” outside 🙂 Thank you for talking to me about things in my life when you came to visit 2 years ago. The heart to heart talk was life changing. I love you and miss you.

  • Michael and Nancy Shores Posted April 18, 2019 11:28 pm

    Bruce was an inspiration to all who had the privilege of knowing him. We, as his massage and bodywork therapists, can visualize him simply jumping over the pearly gates, eager to play the piano for all those waiting to enter. This is Bruce. He will be missed.

  • Dr. Norman Abrams Posted April 22, 2019 7:35 pm

    Still in shock! Bruce was most physically fit and talented athlete I’ve ever known. For 15 years, we played handball regularly every week, alternating winning and losing. Bruce was also the most competitive guy I ever knew, and we argued incessantly as to who was the better player. We were also both runners, and for the next 20 years, we would run together for 20 miles every Sunday. When Bruce became a triathlete, one of the most successful ever for his age, I became his biggest fan and most ardent admirer. To accept that this magnificent machine and wonderful human being has come to an end is incomprehensible. I truly considered him invincible. As a friend for 50 years, the loss and sadness I feel is immeasurable. I hope that when my time comes, he will be there to greet me and we will run 20 miles together again. My heart goes out to Lee and his family.

  • John R. Scott II Posted April 24, 2019 10:16 pm

    When I read the news of Bruce’s passing I immediately felt an emptiness inside knowing in this life we will never speak to one another again. I joined the Dunwoody Fitness Center in 1997 and noticed an announcement to join a Nationally ranked Triathlete on Wed evenings for a run in preparation for the Peachtree Road Race. Who would of thought in 45 minutes of running with the group and conversing with Bruce would I decide to start training for my first Triathlon (Buster Britton Sprint). Bruce introduced me to several people during our training days-they became a big part of my life. From the beginning, I was in awe of his accomplishments both professionally as a Peridontist and as an Ironman Championr. Bruce showed me what it takes to be the best you can be and how to Live Life fully. I ‘m so very grateful for the years we spent training together while he and Lee lived in Dunwoody, GA. God Speed my good friend-till we meet again in Heaven. Swim, Bike, Run

  • Jeannie Scott Posted April 25, 2019 8:44 pm

    To Bruce:
    You were our friend as dear can be
    How can we let you go.
    You played for us
    And stayed for us
    Your struggle we all know.
    We “picture-showed” and swam our laps
    We smiled and laughed so much.
    You will forever stay near us
    Our hearts forever touched.

  • Frederick Scott Posted April 26, 2019 12:13 am

    It is hard to loose a friend like Bruce, a friend like Bruce is hard to come by, I don’t think I will again.
    I met Bruce at our Recreation Center pool, where we swam laps. He was six years older than me but swam like he was fifteen years younger than me. , He helped many swimmers with the kind word and a little swimming technique instruction, Me, he just tried talk into swimming the Fernandina ocean races. I offered to have the Foster’s waiting for him at the finish line…… he agreed. So we struck a deals i could live with and avoided swimming in his wake and watching him pull away from me . He was a gentleman, a man of many talents. I will miss him and but will remember the time we spent together.

  • MJ and Bud Posted April 26, 2019 9:25 am

    Thoughts are with you….for your memories to bring you peace?

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