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.