“This is why we live in small towns,” declared Barry Taylor of Toulon on Sunday as he looked approvingly over the crowd in the Toulon school cafeteria gathered to remember and celebrate Glenn (Mr. B) Buchert, the inspiring teacher and counselor who passed away recently at 69 following a one and a half year battle with a brain stroke and then pancreatic cancer.
“We all know one another, and we all care about one another,” Barry added.
The three generations of students Mr. B taught and counseled over his nearly half-century career at Toulon, Toulon-LaFayette and Stark County High Schools certainly cared about Mr. B, as witnessed by the outpouring of affection shown by the hundreds who paid their respects Sunday.
Judy Taylor, Mr. B’s colleague of 40 years, served as mistress of ceremonies and praised Glenn for his unparalleled, constructive rapport with students. Judy also noted the remarkable guidance he provided the student council, whose members became district and state officers, and Jessica Rumbold as state president.
Ironically, as Judy noted, Toulon and Stark County weren’t even Mr. B’s first choice in schools for teaching, nor did he want later to take sponsorship of the student council, both roles in which he developed an enduring love for the students.
A 1964 graduate of Carthage College, Mr. B sent out lots of resumes, hoping to land a post up near his far northern Illinois hometown of Richmond. On his way back to Richmond from school, he decided to stop by to see Toulon superintendent H.B. Carlock, who offered him a job on the spot, and the rest is 46 years of history.
Judy had to coax Mr. B hard to take over the student council duties, in which he quickly reveled, driving students to district and state meetings, and supervising their work locally in delivering meals on wheels, roadside cleanup and doing other good works.
During the celebration of Mr. B’s life, another colleague, A. J. Harland, spoke of how Mr. B early on won a “most popular teacher” contest hands-down, to A. J.’s chagrin. And as a class sponsor, Mr. B’s class floats always bested those of the classes A.J. sponsored. It was hard, maybe impossible, to top Mr. B.
Several younger graduates (I didn’t take notes, thinking it inappropriate, so don’t have the names) spoke, sometimes choking back tears, of how Mr. B inspired them to seek and win district and state offices, building their confidence and skills.
And Mr. B’s wife Nancy, his high school sweetheart and loving partner of 40-plus years, was praised as well. Glenn and Nancy were a devoted team and Nancy was always at her husband’s side for school events and student council trips.
A former devoted student of Mr. B, Jason Musselman prepared a multi-media tribute to Mr. B and Nancy that is rich and stirring. You can view the tribute at here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaoEw1mCo2U.
I figure that Mr. B served as a teacher and mentor to more than 2,000 students, maybe more, across those 46 years. His epitaph, which should be written by those who knew him better than did I, should read something like: “Mr. B was a teacher, counselor, friend and inspiration to thousands of young people. Long live inspiring teachers like Mr. B.”
The Toulon Library is on a fund-raising roll, notes library treasurer Evelyn Roark. Thanks to the success of the Leezer Agency’s donation challenge, which netted about $4,000, another challenge has been issued to the citizens of our community.
An anonymous donor has pledged $1,000 if matched by other concerned library supporters. In addition, another $1,000 would be provided by a corporate matching funds program. Each of your dollars becomes three dollars. Magic!
Checks should be made to the Toulon Library, 306 W Jefferson, Toulon 61483, or call chief fundraiser Lynne Roark at 286-6451, if you have questions.