Harry Edward Buchheister Jr.

Birth
Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland, USA
Death 21 Jul 2017 (aged 90)
Pasadena, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, USA
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 181874152 · View Source
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Harry E. Buchheister, Jr., a veteran Baltimore County public schools educator who was affectionately known as “Mr. B.” at Lansdowne High School, died July 21 of kidney failure at Hospice of the Chesapeake in Pasadena.

The former longtime Catonsville resident was 90.


“I was very fond of Harry Buchheister, whom I did not know until he became a principal at Lansdowne High School,” said Robert Y. Dubel, who headed Baltimore County public schools for 16 years before retiring in 1992.

“He was a very strong institutional leader and an athletic booster. He believed in junior varsity and varsity interscholastic athletics. He thought they were very important, and he wanted teachers to be coaches,” Dr. Dubel said.


“He was a very strict disciplinarian, but always very fair. He was an excellent principal, a master teacher, and I admired him very much,” he said.

“Harry was one of the most important individuals in my professional life, and as a young teacher out of college, I was blessed to be assigned to Lansdowne High School,” said Donald I. Mohler III, chief of staff to Baltimore County Executive Kevin B. Kamenetz.

“It’s easy to talk about Harry. During his years at Lansdowne, he affected a heck of a lot of kids. We used to have 2,500 students there in the early 1970s,” he said.

The son of Harry E. Buchheister Sr., a candy maker, and Clara Joh Buchheister, a homemaker, Harry Edward Buchheister Jr. was born in Baltimore and raised in Violetville.


After graduating in 1944 from Polytechnic Institute, where he played varsity football, Mr. Buchheister was drafted into the Army Air Forces and served in the Pacific as a driver for the Occupational General Staff in Tokyo.

Discharged in 1946 with the rank of corporal, Mr. Buchheister entered the University of Maryland, College Park, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in education in 1951.

Mr. Buchheister began his long tenure with Baltimore County public schools that year, when he began teaching English and social studies at Stemmers Run Junior High School.

He joined the faculty of Catonsville Junior High School in 1954, where he taught until being assigned in 1958 as a guidance counselor at Catonsville High School, and three years later at Woodlawn High School.

When Lansdowne High School opened in 1963, Mr. Buchheister was appointed administrative assistant, and in 1964 was named vice principal. He served as the high school’s principal from 1972 until retiring in 1984.

“He was decades ahead of what made schools work, and he understood at the core they were about family, teachers, students and community, and this was an effective plan,” said Mr. Mohler, who taught social studies at Lansdowne.

“I think Harry touched every student, and he treated them as if they were his own son or daughter, and he did the same for teachers. He had a passion for leadership,” he said.

“Harry cared deeply about people and made Lansdowne a magnificent place to work. I was 11 years under his tutelage and learned something new every day,” Mr. Mohler said. “Wherever I have subsequently worked, I took a piece of Harry with me.”

Laurie L. Slack, who was a member of the Class of 1982 at Lansdowne, recalled when Mr. Buchheister intervened at a difficult time in her life.

“I never had a father figure in my life until Mr. Buchheister crossed my path,” Ms. Slack said. “He gave me so much love and attention. He listened to me when I came to his office to talk and never did not have time for me.

”When it came time for college, no one in my family talked about college, so I sat down with Mr. B. my senior year and said I thought I wanted to be an art teacher. He told me that I had a gift working with children and that art teachers sometimes became frustrated artists,” she said.

Ms. Slack studied early childhood education at the Catonsville campus of the Community College of Baltimore County, and then went to work at Lansdowne United Methodist Church in its preschool.

“Kid are my life, and it was Mr. B. who pointed that out,” said Ms. Slack, who now works in liaison engagement at Lansdowne Elementary School.

Patty Dimaio Simon, another Lansdowne student, said she decided to become a teacher because of Mr. Buchheister.

“He was an absolutely wonderful, wonderful principal. Mr. B. was the best principal ever. We have lost a great man,” said Ms. Simon.

“When I was in college, I was a substitute teacher at Lansdowne. In 1975, he hired me to teach English,” said Ms. Simon, who spent her first nine years of teaching at the high school during Mr. Buchheister’s tenure.

“He took a chance on a brand-new teacher. He was my mentor. He was my father figure. He taught by example and was a role model,” she said. “I spent my entire 32-year career at Lansdowne.”

In a subsequent email, Ms. Simon wrote that her “favorite years, by far, were the ones when Mr. Buchheister was principal. … Compassionate, kind, fair, understanding, and dedicated are just some of the adjectives that come to mind when I think of Mr. Buchheister.

“I learned so much from him. Being a high school principal is very difficult and stressful, but I never saw him lose his temper, and I never heard him say an unkind word to or about anyone,” she wrote.

“He was very dedicated, spending many hours attending sporting events, musical programs, and other after-school activities. He even participated in some of the activities himself,” Ms. Simon wrote. “He showed all of his teachers the importance of working with students in and out of the classroom.”

After retiring, Mr. Buchheister was appointed in 1986 to the Baltimore County Board of Appeals and served until 1998.

A more than 50-year resident of South Rolling Road in Catonsville, he later moved to the Charlestown retirement community, where he lived from 2004 to 2016.

He enjoyed spending time at a cottage on Gray’s Creek off the Magothy River in Pasadena, which had been in his family since 1925, where he liked to swim, crab and boat.

“His true love was being with kids and teachers at Lansdowne and his family,” said a daughter, Susan Buchheister Dawson of Panama City Beach, Fla.

His wife of 55 years, the former Lila Mae Johnson, a registered nurse, died in 2010.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Candle Light Funeral Home, 1835 Frederick Road, Catonsville.

He is survived by another daughter, Joanne Adams of Crofton; five grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter. His son, Paul Edward Buchheister, died in 2014.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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  • Created by: Theresa Ann Bolyard Newton
  • Added: 29 Jul 2017
  • Find a Grave Memorial 181874152
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Harry Edward Buchheister Jr. (6 Dec 1926–21 Jul 2017), Find a Grave Memorial no. 181874152, ; Maintained by Theresa Ann Bolyard Newton (contributor 47704139) Unknown.