Dr. Don A. Buchanan, long-time resident of Grundy Center and its main veterinarian for more than 40 years, passed away quietly at his home north of Grundy Center on June 22, 2022.
Don was born in Wheatland Iowa on July 1, 1929, the first son of Albert and Beulah (Muhl) Buchanan. Don spent his youth in Wheatland where he and his brothers Dean and Dave developed a life-ling love for the outdoors and learned skills in hunting, fishing, woodworking, carpentry, and animal husbandry. Don participated in baseball and basketball in high school and achieved the rank of Life in the Boy Scouts of America. He graduated from Wheatland High School in 1946.
With an eye on a career in veterinary medicine, Don spent a year studying pre-veterinary courses at Upper Iowa College and then transferred to the Veterinary Medicine program at Iowa State University, where he obtained is Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1951. He was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity at Iowa State. After graduation, Don moved to Waterloo to practice with Dr. Ike Hayes, brother of long-time Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes. Their practice included Newcomb’s Black Hawk Kennels south of Waterloo. In the course of his work at the kennels, Don met the owner’s daughter, Arlyne Newcomb, a recent transplant from Butte, Montana. Don and Arlyne were married on December 28, 1952. They immediately moved to Grundy Center where Don took over the veterinary practice of Dr. C. C. Lawrence. The practice was located on 7th Street but was soon relocated to its long-term location on Highway 14-57 near the west end of town. As part of his interest in health, Don served on the Grundy County Board of Health from 1974-2014 and chaired the Board for many of those years.
In their house at 808 K Avenue in Grundy Center and later on Oakdale Farm north of town, Don and Arlyne raised five children – Tom, Kathy, Gerry, Jeanne and Sue. Don served as Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 38 from 1965-1968. His tenure was marked by winter campouts and summer canoe trips, along with annual sojourns to Camp Ingawanis near Waverly. Don was proud to have been selected as a member of the Order of the Arrow during his time as Scoutmaster. Don and Arlyne have enjoyed long-time membership in the Grundy Center United Methodist Church.
Don was an avid archer, hunter and private pilot. He spent many hours fishing and bow hunting with friends like Jerry Cassidy and George Korando and with his brothers Dean and Dave. Don made many of the bows and arrows he hunted with. He was a regular at the Grundy Center Airport where he flew and shared planes with friends like Martin Sharp, Jim Lynch and Bruce Gordon. He was one of the founders of the Grundy Flying Club. Don and his family made regular trips to his hometown of Wheatland and to various lakes in northern Minnesota and Canada for fishing and relaxing.
Don retired from veterinary practice in 1991. He continued his outdoor activities and increased his participation in Emerald Lodge #334 of the Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons. “The Lodge” played a very important role in Don’s life. He rarely missed a Lodge meeting and held many offices, including President of District Lecturers and Master, Secretary and Treasurer of Emerald Lodge #334. He knew all the degrees and mentored many members through them. Don viewed the lodge as a place where he could give back to the community he loved and spend time with like-minded friends and colleagues. He retired from his final official role as Lodge Treasurer in 2021 and was recognized with an Outstanding Service Award for his many contributions to the Lodge and to Masonry.
As time went on Don spent less time outdoors and more time reading – in particular about the American Civil War and World War II, which shaped so many people in his generation. He was only sixteen years old when that war ended, so he was not a participant. But he was an expert in the history, tactics and battles of the war in the European and Pacific Theaters. He was a real American patriot and loved the United States and the town where he spent most of his nearly 93 years.
Don is survived by his wife of 69 years, Arlyne, his five children named above, his brother Dean of Cook Minnesota, sixteen grandchildren and eight great-grand-children. A celebration of Don’s life is planned for August 5, 2022, at the United Methodist Church in Grundy Center. Visitation, including a ceremony by Masons from Emerald Lodge, will begin at 10am, the church ceremony will begin at 11:00, followed by a graveside internment and then lunch back at the Methodist Church. All are welcome.