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Friends of Michigan Veterans Homes
P.O. Box 150251
Grand Rapids, MI 49515
Life Story / Obituary
Larry Buchanan was an all-around type of fellow who brought a lighthearted mix wherever he went. He had a great sense of humor, and was passionate about everything he did. Outgoing and fun-loving, Larry lived with integrity and faith. He was caring and compassionate towards others, and his loyalty knew no bounds. Above all, Larry was devoted to his family and he lived a rich and fulfilling life surrounded by those he loved and cared for.
Larry’s story began on March 25, 1948 in the city of Highland Park, Michigan. Raised alongside his brother, Dennis. Larry was the son of Erwin Lawrence and Clara Blanche (Wilson) Buchanan. At the time of his birth, the end of World War II had brought much prosperity to the U.S. Industry and manufacturing was at an all-time high, and with the onset of the “baby boom”, prefabricated, postwar housing was cheap to build and for people to buy. His father worked as a flooring installer while his mother was a homemaker and office worker.
The Buchanan’s made their home in Redford, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit where Larry’s youth was filled with friends and adventure. Like many boys his age, he could eat his parents out of house and home. He treasured time spent with his friends and loved the many fishing trips they took to Canada. Larry loved fishing in general and his favorite catch of the day most often included a good steelhead, trout, bass, perch or bluegill, although Walleye was favorite to eat. He treasured time with his grandfather while they worked on cars together. In fact, Larry owned a 1933 Roadster and later a1963 Corvette.
Larry lost his mother at the young age of 10 and was raised by his father, grandparents, and an Uncle and Aunt, who had eight children of their own. Larry attended the local schools, eventually graduating from Henry Ford High School in 1966. In high school he took architectural drafting and was a diver on his school’s swim team for which he lettered. With the Vietnam War well underway, Larry could have been drafted but instead joined the U.S. Navy, serving in Vietnam. Following in his father’s footsteps, later Larry’s son, Scott, would also become a proud Navy man, making for three generations of Buchanan men who served in the Navy. Larry served from January of 1968 until September 1973 when he was honorably discharged. Working as an Engineman EN3, a repairman of boats gave Larry just the experience he needed following his service.
It was during his high school years when Larry met his first wife Connie while roller skating. They were married in June of 1970. On May 26, 1971, they were blessed with the birth of their son, Scott. They set-up house in Redford, and before long moved to Big Rapids where he and Connie both attended Ferris State University. To support his family, Larry took a job as an auto body repairman at Duthler Ford in Grand Rapids while commuting from Big Rapids daily. In 1976, Larry and Connie’s marriage came to an end.
Larry moved to Grand Rapids and continued working at Duthler Ford for the next 16 years. It was then when he began working at Sonneveldt Foods in maintenance, remaining there for nine years. Larry was always good with his hands and could fix or repair anything. Once he cut his thumb open and after getting stitches, came home only to slam the same thumb in a drawer which understandably sent him straight back to the hospital for more stitches!
There were numerous things Larry loved throughout the years. He loved classic rock n’ roll, and his love for cars always remained which was evident in the many hot rod and car magazines he owned. His favorite TV shows always had something to do with cars. Over the years he fixed many of his son’s cars and those of others. He even bought a 1964 Econoline Ford van to restore.
Sports minded; Larry was on a softball league for DJ’s Lounge for a time where he also bartended part-time. He loved to bowl and carried a 200+ average. He bowled on leagues at Northfield, Creston, Chez-Ami, and Westgate Lanes and played in many tournaments. Yet it was at Northfield Lanes when Larry met a pretty waitress by the name of Charmon Allison who caught his eye. They began dating and after falling deeply in love they were happily married on May 26, 1989, his son, Scott’s birthday. They lived in the Wyoming area where Charmon worked at Metro Hospital.
Larry was pretty much a basic meat and potatoes kind of guy but would eat anything. He loved spam, peanut butter, and cheese sandwiches. He absolutely loved bread and when Arnie’s Bakery started selling bread crusts Larry could eat them by the bag full! He was active in the American Legion for 38 continuous years. As a member there, Larry acquired the nickname and was affectionately known as the, “Polka Monster” as his buddies would buy him drinks to dance the Polka with their wives! He was a big fan of Facebook and he loved tinkering with computers. Through the years, Larry and Charmon had several, wonderful pairs of canine children including Obie and Sissy, Jasmin and Rosie, in addition to two cats, Junior (cat from hell) and Scratch.
For the last 20 years, Larry and Charmon called Englewood, Florida home. Five years ago following Larry’s retirement they bought a cottage on Croton Pond in Newaygo, Michigan which they were remodeling. Charmon often flew from Florida to Michigan to be with him during the summers while he was working on the cottage. Fortunately Larry got to spend a few weekends there before becoming too sick. For over 30 years, he and Charmon made a wonderful life together. For their 25th wedding anniversary, Larry surprised Charmon with an Alaskan Cruise which will always remain a treasure.
Two years ago, Larry was diagnosed with cancer, and a year later they moved back to Michigan to be closer to family. Family was the very heart of Larry and in years past he loved nothing more than visiting with his grandchildren and step-grandchildren. He loved spending time with them and playing with them. Although Larry underwent chemo treatments, his health continued to diminish. On Sunday, July 14, Larry was admitted to Mercy Health St. Mary’s Hospital where his battle with cancer soon ended.
A loving, loyal, and passionate man, Larry was able to say his goodbyes in his own way. Truly a devoted and dedicated husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend, Larry will be deeply missed by all.
Lawrence E. “Larry” Buchanan, aged 71 of Grand Rapids and Englewood, FL, passed away Wednesday, July 17, 2019, at Mercy Health St. Mary’s. He was the son of the late, Erwin and Clara Buchanan. He is survived by his loving wife of 30 years, Charmon Buchanan; son, Scott and Lisa Buchanan; daughter, Cathy Buchanan; grandchildren, Brynne and Ingrid Buchanan; step-grandchildren, Jenna, Jordan, Aaron, Nicholas and Cole; his brother, Dennis Buchanan; nieces, nephews, many cousins and friends. Cremation has taken place. A service to celebrate Larry’s life will be held Monday, July 22. 2:00 pm at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW. Visitation on Monday from 1:00 pm until the service begins at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to Friends of Michigan Veterans Homes Inc., PO Box 150251, Grand Rapids, MI 49515. To read more about Larry’s life, to sign his online guest book and to leave your own memory of him, please visit his web page at www.heritagelifestory.com.