Art Buchwald buried on the Vineyard

Olga Hirschhorn, Mike and Mary Wallace, Jules Feiffer, Bob Brustein, Walter Cronkite, and Joanna Simon
Listening to the tributes were long-time friends Olga Hirschhorn (right), Mike and Mary Wallace, Jules Feiffer, Bob Brustein, Walter Cronkite, and Joanna Simon. Photos by CK Wolfson

By CK Wolfson - July 12, 2007

This past Sunday at West Chop Cemetery, under sweet breezes and a perfect Vineyard blue sky, the remains of the Island's adopted favorite son, Art Buchwald, were buried next to the gravesite of his former wife, Ann McGarry Buchwald. With the pomp of a United States Marine Corps color guard, and the warmth of personal tributes and informal recollections by the small gathering of friends and family, Mr. Buchwald's generosity, humor, and extraordinarily singular nature were celebrated.

Mike Wallace, Joel and Corbin Buchwald
Close friend Mike Wallace, standing next to Joel and Corbin Buchwald, recounts some caring memories.

Those who spoke included his son Joel Buchwald, close friends Mike Wallace, Lucy Hackney, Bob Brustein, Rose Styron, Ann and Don Brown, and Sue Bailey. As each shared his and her personal anecdotes - usually humorous, consistently loving - it was clear there was a consensus: Whatever the speaker's credentials or the circumstance being referenced, Art Buchwald treated each with the same loyal affection, and was cherished by each in return.

And so they spoke of a mischievous, outspoken, and brilliant man who viewed it as his mission to make people smile, and his duty to offer help to those for whom he could make a difference.

He was never more at home than when he was on the Vineyard, and it was here that he directed his most generous attention. He made himself available to individuals, small groups, and large organizations. For more than 25 years he served both behind the scenes and in the spotlight of Community Services' Possible Dreams Auction, raising close to $5 million. It insured the operation of Visiting Nurses, Island Counseling, Early Childhood Program, Women's Support Services, and Island Community Resources.

Rose Styron and Tamara Buchwald
Rose Styron (left) and Tamara Buchwald, holding her daughter Tate, read Art Buchwald's favorite poem, "In Flanders Field."

At one point in the morning's service, a quickly convened small chorus led the singing of the classic, "I'll Be Seeing You." Carly Simon offered an a cappella rendition of her own, "Too Soon to Say Goodbye," inspired by the title of Mr. Buchwald's last book. Daughter-in-law Tamara Buchwald joined Rose Styron in a reading of the Pulitzer prize-winning columnist's favorite poem, "In Flanders Field." At the conclusion, Mr. Buchwald's friend and doctor from Washington, D.C., Dr. Michael Newman, recited the Kaddish, a traditional Hebrew mourners' prayer.

Most of those at the service expressed the idea that Mr. Buchwald's legacy was the acute awareness of the importance of a life well and lovingly lived.