Bloomington – Known as someone who loved people, loved “working a room” and was a respected servant leader, former Bloomington Mayor, Richard “Rich” D. Buchanan, 81, passed away at 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington. Ever present in his strong faith, to quote Rich, “I’m in a battle with Alzheimer’s, there is no cure, I’m going to lose this battle, but I have already won the war”.
In person private family services will be held. A public viewing of the service may be viewed on Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. by going to: https://youtu.be/rR0DHWQ4q4Q. A public celebration of Rich’s life will be announced at a later date. Kibler-Brady-Ruestman Memorial Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the Grace Church Missions, Women to Women Il Prairieland Foundation, or Illinois Chapter of Alzheimer’s Association.
Rich was born on May 19, 1939, in Clinton, a son to Millard and Myrna Hawkins Buchanan. He married Judy Geary on July 6, 1963 in Sycamore; she survives.
Rich was so proud of his wife Judy and his children, Jennifer, Julie and Gary. Surviving are his children, Jennifer Buchanan of Bloomington Julie (Mike Warren) Buchanan of Oak Park, and Gary Buchanan of Bloomington; He delighted in being “Papau” to his two special granddaughters, Seabra Fae Holstein and Ellie Warren; Also surviving are sister, Janyce Gross of Dwight; brother, Robert (Marilyn) Buchanan of Mahomet; special nephews, Mike Ellington and Mike Gross, both of Bloomington; a host of nieces and nephews; and his aunt, Doris Hawkins of Clinton.
Richard was preceded in death by his parents, three sisters, and one brother.
The Illinois Central Railroad in Clinton, IL was Rich’s roots, born to a railroading family. After U.S. Army service, Rich worked for General Telephone Company. Later hired by State Farm, always upbeat and positive, Rich wanted to be remembered as an Encourager. In 35 years at State Farm, he recruited thousands of young, recent college graduates to start their careers in the Systems Department. Rich served as Chairman of the McLean County Regional planning Commission. He was elected to the Bloomington City Council, serving two terms, followed by two terms as Mayor. His passion for community service was historic and he became regarded as a listener, a facilitator and one who made a difference.
Rich’s final electoral position was with the McLean County board. He enjoyed seeing how another governmental unit operated and bringing his City experience to the position.
An enthusiastic supporter of all things “Bloomington-Normal”, Rich loved Barbershopping with Bloomington’s Sound of Illinois Chorus, he followed Redbird basketball, and was a long-time supporter locally of Women’s Softball. But his first “sports love” was the Chicago Cubs, to whom he was a loyal fan for 73 years.
Rich and Judy were recipients of the 2019 History Makers award hosted by the McLean County History Museum. Judy, active in the political sphere, local and state politics and mental health, and with Rich involved their family in many a local civic project.