Dr. John Charles Buechner, former president of the University of Colorado, passed away on July 28, 2018. He died two days short of his 84th birthday. John was renowned for his life of service and commitment to communities, the university, family and friends
John was born in Cleveland, Ohio. His family later moved to Wooster, Ohio. John graduated from Wooster High School where he starred as an athlete excelling in basketball and baseball.
John received a bachelor’s degree in Political Sciences in 1956 at the College of Wooster. Later that year, John married his high school sweetheart, Katherine (Katie) Cohan, also of Wooster, Ohio. John and Katie had met while in high school and maintained a relationship despite attending different universities.
John and Katie moved to Tallahassee, Florida, where John instructed at Florida State University. There they had their first child, daughter Mary. John moved his family to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he completed his master’s degree in Public Administration at the University of Michigan in 1958. He also earned his doctorate in Political Science from Michigan in 1963. While at Ann Arbor, John and Katie had two additional children, John Allan, and Barbara Lee.
In 1963 John and his family moved to Boulder where he began a career at the University of Colorado. John’s first position was as an assistant professor in Political Science. John held several additional positions at CU including the assistant director for research at CU’s Bureau of Governmental Research, acting chair of the Department of Political Science, and Director of the Bureau of Governmental Research and Service. John also served as a professor in the Department of Political Science, associate dean of Arts and Sciences, the Director of Community and Local Government Relations, a professor in the Graduate School of Public Affairs, and assistant to the CU president’s office.
In 1988, John was named as the interim chancellor for the University of Colorado at Denver, and in 1989 was named the official chancellor at the Denver campus. In 1995, John was selected the 18th president of the University of Colorado. He led the four-campus administration for over five years until he retired in 2000.
John received a gubernatorial appointment as the president of the Colorado Institute of Technology and served in that role from 2000 to 2001.
John also served as a Colorado House of Representative member from 1972 to 1974. He served as the mayor of Boulder, mayor pro tempore, and as a Boulder city council member between 1967 and 1976. John and Katie had moved to Lafayette in 1995. He was appointed to the city council in Lafayette in 2010 for a 13-month period.
John served on over three dozen community and governmental boards, civic and governmental committees in Colorado. He wrote numerous published papers and articles, co-authored two books, and wrote four books.
John was a Christian and attended the First Presbyterian Church in Boulder for numerous years, and later attended the First Presbyterian Church of Broomfield where his son John is the pastor.
John thoroughly enjoyed Colorado. He and his family enjoyed skiing, spending time in the mountains, and fishing. John also enjoyed golfing and had two holes-in-one to his credit. He remained an avid reader, and also enjoyed painting with water colors. John was a passionate fan of the Colorado Buffaloes and attended many athletic and cultural events at CU.
John and Katie were married for nearly 62 years. In addition to his wife Katie, John is survived by his daughter Mary (Peter) Fetterly of Broomfield, son John (Lori) Buechner of Broomfield, daughter Barb (Tim) McGraw of Lafayette, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. John was deeply loved by his family, and often hosted family events. He was preceded in death by his brothers George and Robert.
A celebration of John’s life will occur on August 10, 2018, at 1:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Boulder.
Those wishing to do so may donate a contribution to National Jewish Hospital, 1400 Jackson Street, Denver CO 80206; Attn: Clinical Research and Science Re: Lung Cancer, in memory of Dr. John C. Buechner.