Julie and Gregg Buchanan

 

Julie Ann Means Buchanan

October 9, 1948 — February 1, 2021

Julie Ann Means Buchanan was born in Des Moines on Oct. 9, 1948, to George Benjamin Means II and Mildred Martin Means. She spent her early life in Des Moines and Calif.. Her parents and her brother George were a close-knit family who enjoyed many amazing experiences, which Julie enjoyed sharing stories and artifacts about, like their friendship with Louis Armstrong, Mary Martin, and John Wayne, to name a few. Julie and George cherished those and many more memories when their parents died; first their mother when she was twelve, then their father when she was thirteen. After their passing, she lived with her grandmother Genevieve Tucker Means, where she was cared for especially well by Clara and Harvey Benning who worked in her grandmother’s home and provided loving care as her parents would have wished.

After Julie graduated from high school, she attended the University of Iowa where she met Gregg Buchanan on a blind date. They were married Aug. 14, 1971, in Des Moines where they lived while Julie taught English and Gregg attended law school at Drake University. Julie and Gregg moved to Algona in 1975 and lived the rest of their lives there, where they worked and raised their children. When Meredith and Geoff were young, Julie took time away from her career to focus on them, and she made that her career for several years; supporting them fully in all of their activities. Julie and Gregg also opened their home to several foreign exchange students, none more special than Carla Vernier who became a lifelong member of the family. Julie enjoyed Carla’s return trips from Brazil, particularly when Carla was accompanied by her husband Mauricio and daughter Fernanda.

Julie was a special teacher. She taught and loved junior high students and did a short stint teaching high school English, but her true passion was teaching the students who learned better outside a traditional classroom environment. She taught for many years at East Fork Alternative High School where she eventually became the principal after completing her MA in Educational Leadership at Southwest Minnesota State. She loved her students and seeing them grow and become happy adults, and her students loved her, often inviting Julie to special events such as weddings and to meet their children. After retiring from teaching, she took the reins of handling the finances and office secretary of the First Congregational Church UCC in Algona, where she and Gregg were very active members. Julie was a member and president of PEO, UCC Women’s Fellowship, delivered Meals on Wheels, and spearheaded many community service projects. Julie was passionate about reading and spent much of her free time doing so, and instilled that love in her children and grandchildren. She also enjoyed golfing and spent over 40 years enjoying card clubs with dear friends.

Julie died at home very unexpectedly on Feb. 1 at the age of 72. She was survived briefly by her husband of 49 years, Gregg Allen Buchanan who joined her on Feb. 2. She is survived by their son, Geoff Buchanan, of Pella and daughter, Meredith Buchanan Hines, Meredith’s husband Jeffery Hines, and grandchildren Isaac, Julia and Charlie Hines, all of Mason City. Both Meredith and Geoff followed in their mother’s footsteps and became dedicated teachers. Julie also leaves behind nephews Dan Means, and Kevin Means (wife Alicia), and niece Katie Means. Julie was warmly embraced by Gregg’s family from the beginning and is also survived by brother-in-law Glenn C. Buchanan and his wife Eunice, of Fulshear, Texas, as well as her sister-in-law Lynn Lautenschlager and her husband Edward (Skip), of Salem, Va., Gregg’s aunt, Virginia Buchanan, of Algona, and special cousin Sandy Harmes Buchanan.

Julie was preceded in death by her parents, George Benjamin Means II and Mildred Martin Means, and her brother George Martin Means III, as well as Clara and Harvey Benning. She was also preceded in death by her parents-in-law, Allen and Noma Buchanan, who loved her like she was their own daughter.

 

Gregg Allen Buchanan

November 23, 1947 — February 2, 2021

Gregg Allen Buchanan was born Nov. 23, 1947, in Algona to Allen Knowles Buchanan and Noma (Wiuff) Buchanan. He graduated from Algona High School then attended Grinnell College followed by the University of Iowa where he received his undergraduate diploma in 1970. While attending the University, he began his lifelong love for Julie Means, who became his wife on August 14, 1971, at a ceremony in Des Moines. Gregg attended law school at Drake University in Des Moines graduating as valedictorian and receiving his law degree in 1974. While in law school he was invited to be a member of the Drake University Law Review and served as Case Editor. Following his graduation Gregg was honored to be selected to serve as law clerk to Justice W. Ward Reynoldson of the Iowa Supreme Court for one year.

In 1975, Gregg and Julie returned to his hometown to begin the practice of law with the firm then known as Hutchison, Buchanan, Andreasen and McClure, in which his uncle Russ was a partner. He practiced primarily estate planning and tax law in the various iterations of that firm for the remainder of his life and eventually became the managing partner of what is now known as Buchanan, Bibler, Gabor & Meis. It was his pleasure and honor to have practiced law with his uncle and two cousins, Scott and Todd Buchanan, as well as his partners and staff whom he held in the highest regard.

Gregg never traveled far from his beloved hometown. He could have a gruff manner, and certainly had a sharp wit, but underneath it all was a heart of gold, which revealed itself in years of volunteer work for various organizations, such as the Algona Community School Foundation and the Mahana-Congregational Church Scholarship Foundation. Gregg was a Legacy Award Winner for the Kossuth County Foundation. He served the Algona Country Club Board, and was trusted advisor to numerous local charitable foundations controlling tens of millions of dollars of endowments. He was a Paul Harris Fellow as a member of the Algona Rotary, which led to the opportunity to host several foreign exchange students, none more special than Carla Vernier who became a lifelong member of the family. Some of his favorite times were her return trips to Algona from Brazil with various members of her family, especially her husband Mauricio and daughter Fernanda. Gregg served many roles in the First Congregational Church UCC, of which he was a lifelong member and where he could generally be found on the back pew on Sundays. In addition to church, the weekends were reserved for his hobbies, which included gardening, refinishing furniture, voracious reading and games with grandchildren. He loved to see that his wit and sense of humor were shining through in his grandchildren. Gregg was an avid, if not rabid, fan of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes...his heart of gold did not extend to any team competing with the Hawks.

Gregg died on Feb. 2, at the M Health Fairview University of Minnesota Medical Center following a devastating decline in his cardiac health over several days and following the sudden death of his wife Julie at home on Feb. 1. He is survived by their son, Geoff Buchanan, of Pella and daughter, Meredith Buchanan Hines, Meredith’s husband Jeffery Hines, and grandchildren Isaac, Julia and Charlie Hines, all of Mason City. Gregg is also survived by his older brother, Glenn C. Buchanan and his wife Eunice, of Fulshear, Texas, as well as his little sister Lynn Lautenschlager and her husband Edward (Skip), of Salem, Va., his aunt, Virginia Buchanan, of Algona, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Gregg was preceded in death by his loving wife Julie, and his parents, Allen K. and Noma (Wiuff) Buchanan. 

A memorial service for Julie and Gregg is planned for this summer on a date yet to be determined. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Algona First Congregational Church in their memory and sent to Buchanan, Bibler, Gabor, and Meis Law Firm, 111 N. Dodge St., Algona, IA 50511. Oakcrest Funeral Services of Algona in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be made to www.oakcrestfuneralservices.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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