Buchanan celebrates 104th birthday

Oscar “Buck” Allan Buchanan of Chipley celebrated his 104th birthday Saturday, June 4, surrounded by family and friends. About 100 guests attended the event, held at his son’s home on Timberlane Road in Chipley.

Buchanan, the oldest son of nine children, was born June 3, 1918. He was married to the love of his life, Juanita Sasnett Buchanan, for 74 years before she passed away in 2014. Together, the couple raised two children: Connie Buchanan Shuller and Fred Buchanan. They have four granddaughters and four great-grandsons. Buchanan remarried at age 99 to lifelong friend Jean Kessel, who passed away in 2021.

A WWII veteran, Buchanan was assigned to Pearl Harbor but at the very last minute was diverted to Alaska to fortify the area. His family says as he landed in Alaska, his luggage arrived in Hawaii. 

“God had other plans,” wrote his granddaughter, Canita Peterson, in a Facebook post.

Buchanan, who retired from the Florida Department of Transportation in the mid-1970s after 35 years of service, was also instrumental in the placement of interstate 10.

“He set the marker to define where I-10 would begin at the Alabama line,” said Peterson. “He went door to door along the future roadway, carefully designing its path to minimize homestead disruption.”

Buchanan’s family says he has also written more than 30 books and “knows every fishing hole in Northwest Florida.”

When asked for the key to his long life, Buchanan jokingly replies, “Just don’t die.” He goes on, however, to say the true recipe for longevity is “hard work and clean living.” 

“I have never smoked or taken a drink, and I get out and do a little something every day,” he said.