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In Memoriam: Dr. Leo Horace Buchanan (MS’71, PhD’77)

Jul. 20, 2018
Category: Obituary

Leo H. Buchanan, Ph.D., was born in 1941 in Greenwood, Mississippi. He attended Browning Elementary School and graduated with his 8th grade class as valedictorian. In 1960, he graduated from the Broad Street High School, Greenwood, Mississippi. Dr. Buchanan received the BFA degree in 1964 from Howard University, Washington, DC. He received the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in 1977, both from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Dr. Buchanan moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts in the mid 1970s where he was hired as an Audiologist at the Kennedy-Shriver Rehabilitation Center, an affiliate of Harvard University. He assumed also the position of Audiologist at the Harvard University Health Services. He later served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Communicative Sciences & Disorders at Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Buchanan passed away on June 21, 2018.

Dr. Buchanan served his Country beginning in 1965 at the military base of Fort Polk, Louisiana. Prior to this, he had received training as a technician in ear, nose and throat medicine with an emphasis on hearing health care with the VA Westside Hospital in Chicago and the Chicago Hearing Society. While at Fort Polk, he was trained in basic military, advanced infantry and military leadership, in preparation to serve in Viet Nam. However, the director of military personnel at Fort Polk recognized his unique skills in hearing health care in a medical setting and assigned a tour of duty at the base rather than being sent into combat in Viet Nam. His unique medical skills garnered rapid promotions from Private to Sargent. Military service was distinguished by receiving various Medals of Distinction, leading to an Honorable Discharge in 1967.

Dr. Buchanan was truly a student and master clinician of Audiology, as well as auditory learning disabilities. His professional career was distinguished by appointments at prestigious institutions of health care, learning and preparation of audiology students, medical residents and interns. His career was punctuated by a 22-year travel, research and publication collaboration with the late Dr. S. Allen Counter of Harvard University, working with children and adults who had been exposed to lead and mercury contamination in Ecuador, South America. He performed hundreds of hearing evaluations while at the various hearing centers including a stint at the University of Massachusetts Medical School Otolaryngology Department.

Leo was an avid photographer. He had all of the trappings of a professional photographer. I don’t recall ever seeing him out and about without a camera, and later, the use of the camera on his mobile phone. He traveled extensively throughout the United States, and several foreign countries on multiple continents. He amassed a treasure trove of black and white and color photographs, including numerous 35 mm slides. When digital media became popular, he embraced fully the new technology but still held on to his analog media. He got a kick out of rummaging through old photos that he took numerous years ago and surprising friends, relatives and colleagues by sending out copies. Leo enjoyed also jazz music – recorded as well as live performances. His collection of vinyl records was impressive. He was particularly proud of still owning a turn-table and an audio amplifier that was populated with vacuum tubes.

RIP my very good friend – you will be remembered always as a quiet and gentle soul.

Ernest J. Moore, Ph.D. (’71)

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