BUCH, Harry L., 83, of Wheeling passed away peacefully in his home on October 12, 2013, following a generous lifetime of giving, caring and dedication to his family, friends and community.
He was born August 31, 1930, in Wheeling to the late Harry F. Buch and Marcella Sonnefeld Buch, proprietors of the former Buch & Donovan drugstore in Wheeling.
Second only to the love he shared with his family, Harry's passions in life were the University of Notre Dame and horseracing, both of which he enjoyed to the fullest. Crisp fall weekends found him under the Golden Dome at Rockne Stadium after lighting a candle at the campus Grotto, while spring and fall beckoned him to Kentucky or Saratoga Springs. Winter, often enough, blessed him with a football postseason celebration to a warmer climate.
Harry dedicated himself to a lifetime of work and community service. A graduate of Wheeling Central Catholic High School in 1948, he proceeded to graduate from the University of Notre Dame in 1952, and later from its College of Law in 1955. Harry served in the U.S. Navy from 1956-58 aboard a destroyer, a tour which allowed him to travel Europe and discover his love for Broadway while stationed in New York City. As an educated and traveled young man, he began his nearly 60 years as community leader upon his return to Wheeling.
A member of the West Virginia Bar Association since 1955, Harry served his community as an attorney with the firms of Gompers Buch McCarthy & McClure, Bailey Riley Buch & Harmon, and Steptoe & Johnson, of which he remained active in his role as Of Counsel to the present. In 2011, Harry was honored for these years of outstanding dedication to the welfare of his community and service to the legal profession by being named a Fellow of the WV Bar Foundation.
Early into his career, Harry began his public service upon election to the WV House of Delegates for the terms 1958-64. Thereupon, he served the West Virginia Racing Commission as its chairman for terms 1969-78 and 1984-89, and rose to the role of President of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, 1988-89, responsible for the policy and rules for horseracing worldwide. Ever mindful of his own community, these roles allowed Harry to assist in the initiation of the WV Breeder's Classic, created to foster the racing industry and horse breeding in West Virginia, as a member of its board from 1988-2000.
Closer to home, Harry maintained a valuable presence in the business community as a member of the Board of Directors for Wesbanco, Inc., United Bank, 1999-2009, and the Board of Directors for United Bankshares, Inc., 1988-2000. Harry represented and advocated for Wheeling Jesuit University from its founding in 1958. He served as Chairman of the Board of Advisors for West Liberty State College from 1981-89, was Chairman of the Hall of Fame Board, City of Wheeling, 1986-90, and was granted the Upper Ohio Valley Dapper Dan Outstanding Achievement Award in 1979 and the distinguished West Virginian Award in 1988. His service also included terms as a Director for the Fort Henry Club from 1999 to its closing, including terms as its President from 2008-10. Politically, Harry was a dedicated member of the Ohio County Republican Executive Committee and its Chairman at various times throughout his career.
Harry's contributions to the community philanthropically are almost too numerous to list beginning with service to the Oglebay Institute on its Board from 1961 to the present and as its President from 1986-90. At various times he served on the Board of Directors for the Russell Nesbitt School, St. John's Children's Home and Central Catholic High School Athletic Association, was a member of the University of Notre Dame Sorin Society and Rockne Directors Circle. He coached grade school football for St. Michael's School, contributed to and supported many local charities and always stood ready to purchase a ticket for an event or give support to those in need.
Harry is survived by his wife of 54 years, Patricia Griffith Buch, and by his six children and 17 grandchildren, Mary Beth, Joseph (Caryn Harvey) [Ted, Alison, Jennifer], James (Samantha Hensel) [Alexandra, Kathleen], Annie Buch Hawkins [Jack, Adam, Luke, Mark, Quentin], John (Karen Kearns) [Harry, Patrick, Audrey], Christine Buch Hand (Mike) [Ashley, Matthew, Marcella, Maxwell].
Friends to be received 2-4 and 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at Kepner Funeral Home Woodsdale, 900 National Road, Wheeling, with Rosary devotion services to be held at 8:30 p.m.
Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday, October 16, 2013, at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph, 1300 Eoff St., Wheeling, with the Rev. Msgr. Kevin M. Quirk, J.C.D, as celebrant.
Interment in Mount Calvary Cemetery following.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Catholic Charities West Virginia, 2000 Main St., Wheeling WV 26003.
Condolences may be offered online at www.kepnerfuneral.com.