CHARLES REGINALD LeBUFF
November 6, 1907 – October 4, 1994
Mr. LeBuff was my friend and mentor since 1956 – he was Best Man at my wedding.He treated me like his fifth son – Warren Boutchia is his fourth.
I can remember how, through the decades, he would hold us spellbound, and captivated for hours, with his tales of the world, his life, and convictions.He was a storyteller with few peers and remained faithful to his opinions throughout his life.
His early days saw him at the side of hometown Civil War veterans in Medford, Massachusetts, gaining first-hand information from those fortunate enough to have survived that great waste of humanity.During this period he was part of the Lone Scout program – a precursor of today’s Boy Scouts.He became a hiker, snowshoed cross-country, and the travel "bug" forever became part of him.He was aware of everything around him and became a student of life and its mysteries.
He was a member of the Massachusetts Minutemen – a state militia organization.
He entered an apprenticeship program in the woodworking industry, which launched a remarkable career in the field.By mid-life he would become one of the leading stairbuilders in New England, and some of his finest work included ornate elliptical wooden staircases for the Governor’s mansions in South Carolina and Puerto Rico and the estate of ice cream legend Howard Johnson.He fabricated full-size mock staircases, which were shipped to Italy and used as templates by marble cutters.
For years he manufactured shell display tables which were raffled at the Annual Sanibel Shell Fair.
He devoted years to teach woodworking classes for underprivileged young men at the Boston Boy’s Club.
In the early days of World War II he worked as a foreman in a shipyard which produced wooden ocean-going tugboats for the war effort.On Sundays he would invite lonely French sailors, whose naval vessels had berthed at the Port of Boston, to visit his home for food, merriment, and a glimpse of America.
His military career included two stints in the US Army.From 1932-35 he served in Panama with the 1st Coast Artillery, 14th Infantry, and he saw service in Corregidor, the Philippines, and chased guerrilla bandits in the mountains of Nicaragua.In 1944, he was drafted, because of previous military service, and served with the Combat Engineers – transporting and guarding German POWs between New Jersey and Missouri.He was associated with the French Foreign Legion and attended his last official Legion function in France in 1986 – honored by the Commanding General of the Foreign Legion Group and the 31st Brigade.
Immediately postwar, he served as a superintendent with the civilian branch of the US Army Corps of Engineers.He worked primarily on coastal defenses and beacon towers in Massachusetts.
After retirement he became a world traveler and visited every continent except Antarctica.His first visit to Mainland China shortly followed that of Richard Nixon.
He had many hobbies – he traveled to the jungles of Central and South America to collect orchids; loved to explore by Jeep the beaches of Sanibel Island where he helped conserve loggerhead turtles; collected and used black powder firearms; continued his life-long study of the Civil War; loved to cook strange and exotic foods; studied world history and the world’s great religions; he delved into archaeology and treasure hunting, and he couldn’t pass up a cowboy movie.
He was a regular participant of the Annual March of Dimes Walkathon in Naples, Florida.At age 80 he completed his last 12-mile hike – and he wasn’t at the end of the pack.
He never took a prescription drug until this week, other than quinine to treat military-related malaria.
He never drove a motor vehicle, and although not wealthy he always had a chauffeur.
He was also an inventor – his very last research and development project centered on designing a Vodka ice cube.
Although Charles R. LeBuff had a long life of achievement and adventure, his greatest contribution was as a husband, father, and friend.
(As read at graveside by)
October 7, 1994