Robert B. Buchanan, 45, Was Craftsman, Builder
Robert Bradley Buchanan, 45, died on Nov. 12 in a plane accident off the coast of Martha's Vineyard.
Mr. Bradley was born April 1, 1957, in Racine, Wis., and was graduated in 1974 from Haslett High School in Haslett, Mich., where he still holds the cross-country track record. He attended Michigan State University and Lansing Community College in the HUD architectural apprentice program, Rhode Island School of Design, and apprenticed at the Herreshoff Boat Yard in Point Judith, R.I., where he built boat models and framed all the museum's display pictures. His skills as a boat wright carpenter started at an early age with many excellent tutors, including his father, the late Wilbur H. Buchanan of Okemos, Mich.
It wasn't long after he arrived on Martha's Vineyard in 1974 with his tool belt and hammer that he continued his career and love affair with wood and architecture. Designing and building houses, trimming them out, laying flooring, designing and building custom windows, doors, cabinets and railings, paneling walls and ceilings, he put extra effort into all his projects. He built his business, R.B. Construction, into an architectural millwork specialty shop.
Mr. Buchanan was an artist in many media -- watercolor, pen and ink, pottery, stained glass, fiberglass and formica. He designed, built and installed two large stained glass windows for a hospital chapel overlooking Providence, R.I., while attending R.I.S.D. Many houses on the Island have evidence of his talent, from simple cabinet installations to finish trimming, an addition, library, garage, kitchen or the entire house. His work has been featured in Architectural Digest and American Homestyle Magazine.
Fishing, clamming and lobstering in Island waters, sailing, flying, shooting skeet, hunting and music were only part of his hearty zest for enjoying life, family and friends. He loved and idolized his daughters, who were the center and purpose of his life. Biking and fishing, boating, running the dog and visiting Disney World with them were his special treats.
He was a member of the International Gamefish Association, the Pink Squid Yacht Club and the Martha's Vineyard Rod and Gun Club.
He is survived by his mother, Joan M. Buchanan of Estero, Fla.; his brothers, David Jon (and wife Barbara) of Laurel, Del., Daniel Harrison (and wife Renée) of Bonita Springs, Fla., and William Randall of Ventura, Calif.; his daughters, Brianna Alissa and Megan Leigh of Vineyard Haven; his former wife, Frances Pizzella of Vineyard Haven; his uncles and aunts, Milton Orlando (Buck) and Edna Buchanan of Coleman, Mich., Robert and Jean Randall of Lansing, Mich., Duane and Sandy Randall of Atlanta, Ga., and Lillian Kent of Syracuse, N.Y., and Charlotte Altmann of Cortland, N.Y.; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Interment will be in the Oak Lawn Cemetery in Vineyard Haven.
A memorial fund has been established in his name at the Martha's Vineyard Cooperative Bank, P.O. Box 668, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568, for scholarships in art and architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design for a Vineyard student.