|Birth: ||May 1, 1921|
|Death: ||Nov., 1942|
Letter telling of Wilbur's death and obituaries from newspapers:
Letter written by Mrs. Floyd (Lena) Larsen, 9 Jefferson Street, Billings, Montana to Mrs. Ruby Hoss, 4115 N 7th Street - Tacoma, Washington. Ruby Hoss was a sister of Fay Buffington, Wilbur's father. Wendy Firth-Culpepper, granddaughter of Ruby Hoss, holds the original - copy held by C. Byron
November 8, 1942
My Dear Aunty Ruby,
Aunt Katie has asked me to write you this letter, enclosing hers, and also explaining a great many things she still doesn't feel able to do.
Last Monday morning Wilbur left the house to do a little work with the beet coop while his daddy went on to find extra help. Aunt Katie noticed his team standing by the hay sack (sic) and she went to hunt for him and in the meantime, Uncle Fay came home and shortly before noon together they found him lying in a little coulee but a short distance from the house. He had been shot just above the left eye and apparently had died instantly as there was no evidence of struggle. All we can do is form an opinion as to what took place, but our supposition is that he must have seen a pheasant hurriedly tied his team, took his .22 and went to shoot the bird. From the position of the body it would seem that he had turned and started for the house, and must have slipped on a wet place on the bank. Reports of course circulated that it was a suicide but we who knew him so well and their closest friends and neighbors know that it couldn't have been. He loved his Mother and Dad too dearly to ever do that and he was feeling just fine and was so happy when he left he house to go to work. He and Aunt Katie had planned a little drive as soon as he finished his piece of work. The coroner's verdict was accidental death.
A close neighbor called me about 3 o'clock, and George Newlin, Floyd and I went up there just as quickly as we could get away, and were there a little after five. I can't tell you how awful it was for them. Their finding him made it so much worse. Aunt Katie has recovered pretty well by that time from the shock but poor Uncle Fay, while he said very little as you know, was nearly spent. He looked so bad and his heart was nearly broken. We brought them here to my house and in the meantime my neighbors had sent a message to Mama to come. We got in about 10 o'clock, and about midnight the folks finally decided to lie down and rest. I gave them each sedatives and they slept a little. Mama and Daddy came about 1 o'clock and Amy, Jack Whitmer and Alex Crane, Amy's boy friend, got here at 5:30 that morning.
Wilton and Edith and Clarence came during the day.
Wilbur was buried from our church of the Little Flower with a High Mass and was taken to Rockvale the little cemetery near Edgar. He had a beautiful funeral, with four of his close friends from Edgar and Jack and Alex as pall bearers. Lovely flowers came from so many.
He had been with me, you know for two weeks after his operation and we loved him so much. Such a grand boy! But we all are trying to reconcile ourselves that he was saved from something so much worse. His Mother and Daddy know where he is and many a family has a boy, maybe no one knows where.
I don't know what the folks will do. They don't feel they can ever bear to stay there, but maybe time will help them decide.
We tried to contact you by phone but could never get the message thru, so Aunt Katie wrote the little note and thot (sic) she had sent it, but shortly before they left for home, we discovered it, so then she asked me to write.
George and Ethel and Uncle Tot took them home, and Ethel stayed over the week end so they wouldn't be alone. Mrs. Stark, their neighbor, had them to her place for supper and another good friend had straightened the house and warmed if for them and when Uncle Tot came back he said they were quite composed. Uncle Fay, if he can be made to talk, comes out of it a little but again as soon as he is quiet, his poor head is bowed and he is thinking of his little boy again. I don't know what they will do and I worry about what the next few weeks will do for them.
When you write don't mention that I told you they didn't want to stay there but they will tell you, I know. Just don't know anything about it. Too, just better leave any mention of possible suicide out. They know the rumors were about but the sooner they can be made to forget them the better. Please don't feel I'm bossy to ask these things but I've gone through it all with them, and I want so much to save them everything I can and yet give you as full an account as possible.
Just drop me a note when you get the letter so I'll know, and if there is anything I've missed that you feel you would like to ask about, feel free to write me and I'll do my best.
Clipping from Amy Crane collection - no source or date given, however from byline it appears it may have appeared in the Miles City Star - copy held by C. Byron -
Accident Fatal for W. Fay Buffington of the Edgar Region
Ashland, Montana, Nov. 14 (Special to the Star) Word has been received this week of the death of Wilbur Fay Buffington of Edgar, Mont. The accident which claimed the young man's life occurred at the ranch home, Monday morning, November 2.
The subject of our sketch was born in Miles City, May 1, 1921, the son of Fay Buffington and Katie Mahoney Buffington. He spent the early years of his life on a ranch near Jordan and later resided in Jordan. He was graduated with the class of '39 from the Garfield County High School. He was a member of the Holy Name Society and a devout Catholic.
Three years ago his family moved to Edgar, Mont., and Wilbur entered into a partnership with his father. They engaged in farming and stock raising on their newly acquired holdings on the Clark's Fork River.
In this new environment he made many new friends, but he also kept in touch with his old friends and home on the north side. A pleasing personality was his and he was popular with with young and old. In the home, too, he was outstanding as a dutiful son and to his sisters, he was a boon companion. His plans for the winter were to enter some branch of his country's service. a recent operation, from which he was just convalescent had delayed his entrance for several weeks.
The remains were brought to Billings to the Settergren Funeral Home where the Rosary was recited for him on Wednesday evening. On Thursday following a high requiem mass, in the Church of the Little Flower, at which Fr. W. H. O'Rourke officiated, internment was made in the Rocvale (sic) Cemetery, in the little valley where the deceased had made his home in recent years. The pall bearers were as follows, Harold Jensen, Einer Jensen, Bud Jensen, Chester Jensen, Alex Crane and Jack Whitmer.
Among those who were present for the funeral from outside points were Private Roy Kerr and wife from Camp Rucker, Ala., Jack Whitmer and Alex Crane, Jordan; Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Barnes, Brusett; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Bailey; Bill Broadus; James Bailey; John and Hugh Mahoney; Mrs. Agnes Lynch of Forsyth; Mr. and Mrs. Eben Daily, Mr. and Mrs. Kirk Badgett, Ashland; Wilton Buffington and daughter, Edith, Jordan.
Wilbur is survived by three sisters in addition to his parents, Amy who teaches at Brusett and Marie and Helen who are at home. A baby sister, Ruth, preceded him in death. To the members of his bereaved family, the heartfelt sympathy of a wide group of friends is extended.
Another clipping from the Amy Buffington Crane collection - no source or date given - however, language in it refers to her as "teaching in this county" so this is probably from the Jordan Tribune - copy held by C. Byron
Wilbur Buffington Death Accidental
A coroner's jury investigating the death of Wilbur Buffington at Edgar returned a verdict of accidental death. Young Buffington, only son of Mr. and Mrs. Fay Buffington of Edgar, Carbon County, formerly of Garfield County, was carrying a .22 cal. rifle which was accidentally discharged, killing him almost instantly. His body was found two hours later.
At the time of his death Wilbur was 21 years of age. A graduate of Garfield County High school, in recent he has been working on his father's farm southeast of Edgar.
Survivors are his parents,; a sister, Amy Rose Buffington, a teacher in this county, and two younger sisters, Marie and Helen, living at home.
[C. Byron's note: the obituary printed in the preceding piece is then duplicated in this clipping.]
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Found in Katie Buffington's papers:
DEDICATED TO WILBUR BUFFINGTON
Gone is the face we loved so dear.
Gone is the voice we loved to hear.
Too far away for sight or speech
But not too far for throught to reach.
Sweet to remember hinm,
Him who was here
And tho absent is just as dear.
Soe day the Heavenly Gate
When God calls us to meet you,
Our loved one.
Fay Ollie (Olin) Buffington (1885 - 1957)
Katherine Helena Mahoney Buffington (1891 - 1976)
Ruth Buffington (1916 - 1918)*
Amy Rose Buffington Crane (1918 - 1993)*
Wilbur Fay Buffington (1921 - 1942)
Marie Buffington Beall (1923 - 1993)*
Helen Theresa Buffington Hudak (1924 - 1987)*
Created by: Catherine Byron
Record added: Jun 03, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 19692312