Richard Benjamin Buckwalter, New Holland, PA, passed away in the company of his family during the early morning hours of March 10 at Garden Spot Village. Richard was born on February 22, 1925 in Lancaster, PA, the third of six children born in the midst of the Great Depression, all raised by his mother Martha Denlinger Buckwalter (1897 - 1987) after the unfortunate passing of his father, John Buckwalter (1896 - 1935). His sister, Rhoda Salim, survives while Robert, Dorothy Thomas, Ruth Stauffer, and John preceded him in death.
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Richard married Sara Rebecca Hostetter (1925 - ) on Jan 6, 1945. They worked as partners to raise a family and develop a family farm, purchasing their own farm in Cochranville, PA, in 1959 where they cultivated 140 acres and tended a herd of approximately 50 Holsteins. When his eldest son, Richard L. Buckwalter, took over responsibility for the farm, Richard’s unflagging work ethic led him to a career path more typical of today’s gig economy than that of the single company commitments associated with his Great Generation. He worked in landscaping, gardening supplies, auto parts delivery and back to landscaping making fast friends wherever he worked. When he finally retired from employment, he taught himself how to cross-stitch and made well over 100 quilts and wall-hangings that will grace his family and friend’s homes for generations to come.
Richard was a lifelong member of the Mennonite Church. As was the Church’s tradition he was ordained from its membership into a role as a leader, first as a Deacon at Old Road Mennonite in Gap, PA in 1959 and then as Pastor at Old Road in 1963. in addition to his pastoral duties at Old Road, he was a frequent evangelist and Adult Bible School teacher throughout the Lancaster Mennonite Conference. Despite a lack of formal education, he was widely respected for his well-reasoned and heartfelt presentations of Christian Anabaptist theology and lifestyle. After retiring from Old Road, he served as interim pastor at Andrew’s Bridge Mennonite, Christiana, PA, and the Welsh Mountain Mennonite Church, New Holland, PA. He was also gifted with a fine tenor voice.
Richard was the father of four children, Eloise Glick (1946 - ), Lititz, PA, wife of Jesse Glick (1942 – 2018), Richard L. Buckwalter (1948 - ), New Holland, PA, husband of Deborah Shank Buckwalter (1949 - ), Victor L. Buckwalter (1952 - ), Keezletown, VA, husband of Christina Yoder Buckwalter (1951 - ), and J. Galen Buckwalter (1956 - ), Sierra Madre, CA, husband of Deborah Fremouw Buckwalter (1952 - ). He has 9 grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and a grand total of 29 great grandchildren. They will live with memories of his meal-time prayers, a level of gusto independent of skill level evident on any sports field, occasional belly laughs and unwavering acceptance and constant emotional availability.
The family would like to thank the staff at Winter Garden at Garden Spot Village for their outstanding care and compassion during Richard’s final days.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, March 17 at 2 pm at Garden Spot Village Chapel, 433 S. Kinzer Ave., New Holland. The family will receive friends following the service at a reception at Garden Spot Village. Private interment will be held at the convenience of the family at Old Road Mennonite Cemetery. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Mennonite Central Committee, donate.mcc.org. To send the family online condolences visit us at www.groffeckenroth.com. Arrangements by Groff-High Funeral Home, New Holland.