Life Story / Obituary
Buel grew up in Lomansville, KY and on Buckhorn on Little Paint Creek near Oil Springs, KY. He loved both places and fondly talked about the families that lived around him in Lomansville, especially the Castle family. His grandparents, John and Minerva Arms lived up the holler from them in Lomansville, KY. His heart was in Buckhorn, however.
Buel spent his formative years on Buckhorn and he loved Buckhorn. He taught his children to love Buckhorn as much as he did. Each time he went back to Kentucky, he went to Buckhorn. The house where he was born still stands at the mouth of Buckhorn. He talked often of the happiness and freedom he felt when he was growing up and exploring the hills around the old home place. He loved the simpler life he knew there as a boy when there was no electricity in the hills and few cars.
He joined the United Baptist Church when he was a young man in Kentucky. In his later years when he and Edna spent a lot of time in Kentucky, they frequently went to church and enjoyed the fellowship of the church family. A few days before Buel died, while he was in the hospital, he said I am going to Heaven.
On August 26, 1949, Buel married Edna Earl Baldwin and they had five children. Buel met Edna at the Davis Branch schoolhouse, which both of them attended. Edna would tell her family about the morning he was building a fire in the schoolhouse stove and she just walked up and kissed him. “Buel was too shy and would never have done that,” she said.
He said he started going barefoot at Easter to school and didn’t put any shoes on until late fall. He loved playing baseball at school and recalled many good times there.
Buel worked hard growing up, but he was also adventuresome and found time to have fun. He said that he and his brother, Frank, would swim in Little Paint Creek when it was flooded and up, running swiftly. They would jump in the creek and float down in the swift current. Buel also would tell of feeding hogs soap when he was a little boy after going to the store and purchasing it. He said hogs liked soap, so he fed it to the hogs. Another time, he and his brother, Frank, were planting beans on the hill and grew tired of planting the beans. They threw all of the beans in an old stump thinking they were done with them. Much to their surprise the beans not only sprouted and grew, they flourished.
One of Buel’s biggest passions in life was working. He was happy and content while working. He frequently worked two jobs at a time. Throughout his lifetime, he held many different types of jobs. He helped build ships in Toledo, OH. He got his welder’s certification in Toledo and welded on the big ships. He was also a rail car inspector in Toledo. He never tired of telling the story about when he inspected the rail cars in the early 1950‘s and climbing on top of the pickle car, lifting the wooden lid at the top, and sticking his hand in the huge wooden barrels to grab salt pickles. The size of the barrels amazed him and the salt pickles satisfied his hunger.
He also worked in the oil field, the coal mines, in logging, and maintaining the railroad. He was a machinist and a lay carpenter who built houses and furniture. He could look at a house or a piece of furniture and build the house or the piece of furniture. He was even an aluminum siding salesman for a brief time. There was nothing that he could not do or fix, whether it be plumbing, cars, tractors, farm equipment, motors, or electric work. If he saw it done, he could do it. If anyone asked for help doing something, Buel was there. He never refused to help. He helped his son, Buel Junior, build his house and worked on many houses in the neighborhood.
When Buel was in his late seventies, he and Edna returned to Kentucky and restored the house Edna’s father built. During and after restoring the simple, country home, they had many years of happiness there with family and friends. On the Fourth of July people would gather at Buel’s and Edna’s to enjoy a big meal and the firework display put on by his neighbor, Hubert. Buel loved sitting on the front porch watching the wildlife and enjoying the view across Little Paint Creek and the bottom land beyond it.
Another passion of Buel’s was food. He learned to love food when he was a little boy. As a young boy, he helped his mother raise a garden and can, dry, sulfur, or pickle the food they raised. He would keep the fire going when meat was being smoked in the smokehouse and make sure the cloth was kept tight over a barrel of apples while they were sulfured.
One of his fondest memories was getting cold corn bread from the kitchen, slicing a piece of smoked bacon from a rasher of bacon in the smokehouse, and going to the spring garden and eating it all with a freshly pulled green onion. He said the bacon was smoked so well that it was ready to eat.
He liked eating food, fixing it, reading and talking about it, and watching it being prepared. Later in life, he often prepared his breakfast. He could bake biscuits and cornbread and fry potatoes and bacon. There was no vegetable that he didn’t like. He liked them all. And, he loved banana pudding and carried on a friendly competition with Tim, a family member in Kentucky, over who would get to the banana pudding first.
It was almost a ritual how Buel prepared to eat and it took him several minutes to get ready to eat. He had his plate of food, but at dinner he also had to have a freshly cut onion, radishes or other raw vegetables, and a pickle or two, arrayed around his plate on paper towels and liberally salted. Edna was often half way through her meal before Buel sat down to eat.
He made several trips to Kentucky when he was in his 70’s and 80’s with his son, Jerry, and friends, Dan and Dave. The “boys” rode ATVs with family and friends while Buel cooked many of the meals for them. He loved talking about preparing the meals and eating with them on those trips. He was proud that he could make biscuits or cornbread for their meals.
Buel had a few accidents during his lifetime. As a young boy, he caught his clothes afire standing in front of the fireplace. His backside was burnt badly and took a long time to heal. One winter after moving to Michigan, he was watching his son, John, and the neighbor boys skiing down a pile of snow on the farm. He thought it looked like fun and wanted to try it, too. He did and sprained his shoulder.
After retiring, he was helping his son, Jerry, work on a house. He fell from the scaffolding and broke his neck. He hurt his fingers many times, once even sanding off part of them while working on a belt sander. When he was 80 years old, he was mowing the lawn with a riding mower one summer in Michigan where the house is surrounded on two sides by drainage ditches. He was on the edge of one of the ditches and confused the gas petal with the brake and ran over the side of the ditch, landing with his head in the dirt and the riding mower on top of him. He couldn’t believe he did it and said, “I could have killed myself with my broken neck.” Another time he fell in the carport landing on his back on the concrete. Edna came out to find him lying on the concrete and asked him what he was doing down there. He replied, “I fell. What do you think I am doing down here?” He was not hurt and the family had many laughs with them about the fall and Edna’s comment.
Buel was not much for relaxing pursuits, but he loved playing golf and only stopped playing after he hurt his shoulder in the infamous skiing accident. He played golf with his son, John, and his brother, Frank, among others. He loved playing Rook, an old- fashioned, Kentucky card game, with his son, Jerry, and Dan and Dave. If Jerry called and said they were playing cards, Buel had his hat on, grabbing his keys, and was out of the house in minutes. He spent many happy hours talking and laughing with the “boys”.
He also enjoyed fishing whether it was in the summer from a boat or in the cold winter on the ice on a five gallon bucket. His late brother-in-law, Raymond, was a frequent companion on the fishing trips. Buel also liked playing the banjo. He only knew two or three songs, but he played with gusto. Each time he played, the children would get up and jump around. He also loved to whittle.
Buel is at peace now and will rest beside his loving wife and companion, Edna, on a hill in Kentucky where the cemetery overlooks the hills and valleys he loved so much. Edna and Buel Junior are waiting for you. You are with God now, Buel. Your race is run. The worry over. Rest peacefully.