John Allison Buchanan


Former Fairmont, WV native John Allison Buchanan died peacefully in his Providence Point residence in Scott Township, Pittsburgh, PA, before dawn on December 24, 2018, five days after his 87th birthday. With hospice and family care, his loved ones surrounded John as he went to his Lord in Heaven. Left to celebrate his giving life are his loving wife of more than 59 years, Ruth Cuppett Buchanan, four children: Anne (Jon), Kerrra (Jeffrey), James (Kristen), and Jill (Steven). Cherished grandfather to 15; loving "Uncle Muck" to his nieces and nephews; and caring cousin.
Reared in Fairmont by the late Joseph Kerr Buchanan, Sr. and Frances Allison Buchanan, John was a class leader at Fairmont Senior High School and choral singer, super swimmer, summer life guard, trick diver, and year book staffer. The class of l949 celebrated many reunions over the years. In l950 John entered West Virginia University in Morgantown and pledged the Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, which his grandfather, the Rev. Aaron Moore Buchanan, D.D. (1856-1924) guided and inspired for 30 years after having petitioned the national council of 1890 to plant the chapter. A plaque was implanted by the fraternity to honor Dr. Buchanan, once a Presbyterian minister in Morgantown.
As John took up business classes as his major, he was selected by Coach Steve Harrick to become a heavy-weight wrestler, his first-ever training. From 1952 to l954, the lanky 195-pounder won all but three matches for WVU. In late January of 1954, John had his business degree, but was called into the 82nd ROTC Airborne Signal Company at Ft. Bragg, NC where he served as 1st Lieutenant and jumpmaster with 52 paratrooper jumps, football games, and discharge in 1956.
Back at WVU, John became assistant wrestling coach and taught economics classes, one in which his blonde student, Ruth Cuppett, interested him enough to ask her for a date after grades were turned in to go to the l958 President's Ball on campus to honor retiring President Irwin Stewart's 12 years' service. Count Basie and getting-to-know-each-other-dates resulted in a July 18th, 1959 wedding. By then, John was in Mellon Bank's training program in Pittsburgh, working toward a master's degree in industrial relations (not until l960) and on the Data center team, visiting banks, learning operations, writing a thesis on Automatic Teller Machines for Rutgers Graduate School of Banking, being moved into credit, then in 1987, moving from Pittsburgh to Uniontown's banks: Gallatin, then Integra, and National City from which he retired as president in late l996.
Living at Deer Lake in Chalk Hill, PA, John served on the board, swam, biked, rode his motorcycle, cross-country skiing and sledding with grandchildren, yet volunteered in SCORE to promote business, was on boards for the YMCA, Goodwill Industries in Uniontown and Pittsburgh, was honored for much, including a Citizen of the Year award by the Chamber of Commerce in 1999 and other tributes. When mowing grass and shoveling snow became tedious, John's daughters chose an apartment in independent living in Providence Point. John continued to play his harmonica and kazoo, visited folks in health care and the memory unit, telling jokes, stories, and making up riddles. He never gave up caring for others, and he will always be remembered for producing the book "Giving Back" which celebrated the Uniontown Eberly family's generous gifts through the state for years. John himself enjoyed being a church trustee, setting up a foundation, teaching Sunday school and Biblical prophecy while he was able.
On Sat., Jan. 19, friends can join John's family for refreshments and visiting in the 2nd floor Fellowship Room at Mt. Lebanon Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 255 Washington Rd., in Pittsburgh, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by a service of celebration at 2:30 in the Church sanctuary.
Published on January 4, 2019
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