Stowe-Rita Buchanan of Stowe died very peacefully in the early morning hours of Thursday, January 29, 2015. She was born in Norwalk, CT on January 31, 1928, the daughter of Henry and Anna Eno.
She grew up and attended school in Connecticut, playing basketball and winning acclaim with her field hockey skills. She worked for an obstetrician and thought this would be her vocation until she met and married Thomas Fraser Buchanan, Jr, and their mutual love of skiing brought them to Stowe, VT. They took many weekend ski trips to Stowe, and in the 1950s, they moved here permanently and built a ski lodge together. They owned and operated the Winterhaus dorm for over thirty years. Her athleticism and love of skiing led her to become one of the first female ski instructors in the area. She earned her certification and taught many children to ski—including her own. She was interviewed in 2011 to have her ski instructor story included in the book, Ski Pioneers of Stowe, Vermont.
She was a strong and independent woman. Rita piloted single engine planes—once performing a blind landing using only instruments due to a dense fog. Also a skilled golfer, she competed in and won area tournaments. She drove the family’s motorhome on their many camping trips and as recently as 2000, she and Tom went on one of their many Salmon fishing adventures to Alaska. She was an avid and highly successful fisherwoman. When she headed down the driveway wearing her waders and carrying her fly rod, her children knew not to follow. She was on her way to have her “alone” time—to the West Branch to fish for trout. Rita and Tom fished from the coast of Maine, to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, to Haines, Alaska—where she was sometimes so focused on her fishing that she was unaware of the grizzly bears fishing behind her. One of her daughters reported that while vacationing in Popham Beach, Maine, she mentioned she was related to Rita Buchanan and was regaled with stories of her fishing abilities by the beach regulars. A true legend.
Rita was incredibly hard working. If something needed to be done, she simply did it—from shingling the lodge roof to balancing the books. She never complained and never asked for anything for herself. She took life as it came and spent many years as the devoted Caregiver of her husband who predeceased her in 2012.
Survivors include her children, Heather Barnwell and husband Tom of Pinehurst, NC; Fraser Anne Buchanan and close friend, Gene Bygd of Silverthorne, CO; Christine “Dede” LaRow and husband, Bruce of Morrisville; Thomas “Darb” Fraser Buchanan III and wife Karen of Green Creek, NJ; and Jessie Buchanan and close friend, Patrick Wilson of Thomaston, Maine; her cousin, Stephen Gwiazda and wife Pat; grandchildren, Sondr Engvaldsen, Sara Watts and husband, George; Alexandra “Lily” Barnwell, Stuart Higano, Jr., Alexander Higano, Nara Higano, Thomas Buchanan IV, Zachary Buchanan and Samantha Buchanan; great-grandchildren, Brayden Elwell, Amaiya Elwell, Dominick Elwell and Harper Caroline Watts.
The family would like to thank our sister, Dede for taking gentle and patient care of Mom for the past three years. Also thanks to Out and About Adult Daycare Services, Central Vermont Council on Aging and Lamoille Home Health and Hospice for their professional and caring support.
A gathering will be held at a graveside service at the Riverbank Cemetery in Stowe on Sunday, May 31, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. Faith Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements.
Online condolences may be made by visiting faithfh.net.